Emergency Cesareans and Navigating Breastfeeding and NICU Stay

Despite feeling prepared, Amanda’s first birth experience ended in a cesarean birth when her baby started struggling with heart decelerations. Before the doctor even made the cut, she already knew she wanted a VBAC experience with her next birth. The postpartum experience with her first was challenging, but things settled after a few months.

When Amanda became pregnant over a year later, she did everything she could to prepare for a VBAC. She went into labor at 41 weeks and had an amazing labor but experienced a complete uterine rupture after one hour of pushing. She was rushed into emergency surgery. Once delivered, her baby was rushed to the NICU and remained there for 9 days. While recovering in the hospital Amanda experienced chest pain, and a CT scan revealed a pulmonary embolism. Postpartum had other challenges related to low breastmilk supply and she had a physically and emotionally painful recovery. 

ruptured-uterus-birth-story

Amanda Jamison Bio

Amanda lives near Denver, CO with her husband Jonathan and two kids: Rowan (2.5 years old) and Aria (8 months). She can be found on Instagram at @amanda_moves or on Facebook under Amanda Jamison. 

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Their commitment to providing parents with the foundation to thrive has launched the company into creating a broad range of award-winning products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably, and safely – where function and quality are not compromised. 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. Check out Ergobaby’s Embrace in Soft Air Mesh that we discussed on the podcast!

Planned Birth Center Birth Turned Emergency Induction and C-Section

Jewel shares her story in her own words, listen to the podcast to hear the full story!

My husband and I started talking about babies a little over a year after we got married. I had gotten off the pill after being on it for ten years, so I was off of it for two when we started. I was really familiar with FAM, so when we started trying it only took three months to actually conceive. 

I found out I was pregnant on our delayed honeymoon. We were supposed to go to Vietnam when the pandemic started and that went out the window so we went to Louisiana a year later. I packed a box of soft cups and a few pregnancy tests since we were trying and I would need one of those two things no matter what. I was a day late, and that seemed suspicious, so I took a test but it was negative. Then on the second day, I was supposed to start, nothing. So I lad a pregnancy test on top of the toilet to take the next morning. I rushed to the toilet when I woke up on the third day, took the test, and while waiting…which felt like forever, I finally saw two faint lines. I sat in there for about five minutes making sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and called my husband in to look at the test with me. I cried from excitement, he’s the more level headed one so he was really excited but told me to wait until we could confirm at home since I was barely three weeks along at this point. We had to keep it from family and friends until we could come home and make sure with about five more tests. Which were also positive. 

I, like countless other women, watched The Business of Being Born before getting pregnant and was determined to have a natural labor with midwives. I received care from The Bastrop Birthing Center under Ellie Noble and that could not have been a better choice. 

Pregnancy was great, I never had any complications until after my due date. I went to the gym, got some funny looks in the weight room, and took long walks. When I got ultrasounds the techs commented on how good the oxygen delivery was from placenta to baby so that’s what encouraged me to keep some sort of active routine. I did suffer from some serious pelvic pain and swelling. Since I’m black, my midwives monitored me closely for preeclampsia, protein in the urine, and hypertension, (plus my mother ended up having both when she was pregnant with me) but I think from a combo of reducing stress and exercising often I was able to avoid developing those issues.

My body was trying to go into labor for about two weeks but nothing was progressing past evening contractions. One night I was convinced we would have to go to the birth center but once the sun came out, contractions stopped. Since I was so far past my due date, my midwife scheduled me at Austin Perinatal and I had a biophysical done on the baby. This was scheduled when I was 41 weeks and 5 days pregnant. 

He was a 4 out of 8 on where he should be and his amniotic fluid was almost halfway gone. The head nurse came in, sat down, looked me in the eye, and said, well, you will be having a baby in the next 24 hours. I immediately resigned all my lovely Birth Center plans and accepted the fact that I would be having the hospital birth I did not want. 

I called my midwife and she immediately got all my labs and paperwork sent over to St. David’s Main in Austin. I was admitted to L&D and the nurses were wonderful, one of them even told me she was sorry I didn’t get to have the Birth Center experience I wanted and that made me feel a lot better. 

I scarfed down some Soup Peddler while she went over paperwork with me and then waited for my husband to show up with my truck and my hospital bag. The initial plan was to induce with a foley bulb but I was actually at 3 cm when I came in, so they offered a combo of cervidil, Cytotec, and Pitocin. I kindly asked them if I could just do the Pitocin and see how I progress and they were fine with that. The Pitocin contractions were so intense I caved and asked for the nitrogen, which did nothing other than made me feel sick. Then I needed an epidural because the contractions were sending me out of my body and I really could not handle the pain. After three rounds, it wasn’t really working, but my body progressed to 8cm. Unfortunately, it stayed at an 8 for almost 10 hours or so. By this point, I had intense shivers, had developed a fever, and the head midwife came in to let me know I had developed Chorioamnionitis. The baby was rather large and in a sunny side up position (I think) so a C-Section was recommended. I cried and agreed to it, nothing about this experience was going the way I intended but at this point, all I wanted was our baby boy to get here safely. 

A lot of what happened next is a blur because of the surgery but I remember my midwife being the best cheerleader I could have asked for during the process and she really kept my husband and me calm. Her energy was absolutely perfect and she turned a less than ideal situation into a positive one. My husband was encouraging me letting me know our baby boy would be here soon. 

There was a point where they struggled to get him out of me because apparently my abdominal tissue was so dense it required an extra hand and the sight (from what I’ve been told) was NOT pretty. I’m glad I was told this after the surgery and not during. They got the baby out and once I heard his cry my life changed forever. I cried, my husband cried, and he was the first to hold him 

and do skin to skin while I regained my energy and awareness. He latched like a champion and he’s gained 7 pounds since birth.

His birth weight was 9.86 and he was 21 inches, now he’s about 25 inches long, 16 pounds, and he fits in 6-month-old clothing at 3 months lol. 

Postpartum

I had a lot of help after surgery, but since I could walk the same day I really overdid it and had to remind myself to rest. I was walking around in the recovery room of the hospital and the nurses were like, “What are you doing?!?!” So if any other athletic mommas have a cesarean planned or think they won’t have one, just keep in mind not to overdo it. 

I have some diastasis recti and my pelvic pain is better but hasn’t completely gone away. It’s really flared up by laying on one side the entire night or wearing my baby too long. 

Even though I had the opposite birth experience of what I wanted, it was still really positive and my baby boy never had to do any NICU time so I have that to be grateful for. And even though I had a c-section, my breastfeeding experience has been wonderful. I thought my milk would never come in since it took a full five days to show up, but it did, and now I’m a little bit of an oversupplier so I donate to a national service called ni-q HDM. So if you find yourself having an unplanned or surprise c-section, keep latching your baby as much as possible and use balm if there’s any pain. I didn’t even have to use my pump to get my milk supply started! 

Jewel Broussard Bio

Jewel lives in Smithville, TX with her husband Wyatt, their 3 month old son named Theodore, a cat, dog, and two donkeys. Jewel is a graphic designer and Wyatt is a jeweler. They met through jiu-jitsu almost five years ago. Connect with her on Instagram @ruraljewel.

Resources

  • The Birth Hour – I am grateful for the women who shared their experiences, especially when things didn’t go as planned. Because of that, I went into my induction and surgery very calm knowing that medical interventions might not be ideal, but they can save lives.
  • Aeroflow
  • Kindred Bravely (code BIRTHHOUR for 20% off)
  • STIX – their ovulation/pregnancy tests are amazing
  • Haakaa
  • La Leche League
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
  • Babywearing – I use an Ergobaby and a Moby wrap and it does wonders for bonding and nap time.

Kindred Bravely

Part II of this 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!

Postpartum Story: Breastfeeding Struggles and Partner’s Mental Health Crises

After a 58 hour induction turned emergency cesarean, Shannon began her postpartum journey with her son, Ethan. They had many struggles with breastfeeding which resulted in 3 months of triple feeding, tie revisions, and eventually led to exclusively pumping. She was able to donate milk to other moms, however, which made all of the hard work extra worth it. 

At around 3 months postpartum, Shannon’s husband went through a major mental health crisis. Trying to support him and care for their baby was really challenging, but after the right medication and a great therapist, things are finally looking up! 

Shannon has found a lot of joy in cooking with and for her son and exploring baby led feeding together. Her postpartum experience has been a mixed bag with the lowest of lows as well as highest of highs. 

babywearing hike

Shannon Coyne Bio

Shannon is a musician and teacher living in Mount Vernon, Washington. She loves to get outside and hike with her son, Ethan, and black lab, Ruby. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and playing cello with her husband. You can connect with her on Instagram @shannonn37 or on Facebook at Shannon Coyne. 

Resources

  • @karrie_locher
  • @heysleepybaby
  • @bemybreastfriend

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Their commitment to providing parents with the foundation to thrive has launched the company into creating a broad range of award-winning products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably, and safely – where function and quality are not compromised. 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. Check out Ergobaby’s Embrace in Soft Air Mesh that we discussed on the podcast!

Cholestasis, Emergency C-Section, IUGR Induction w/ Successful VBAC

Rafa, October 2017: Emily was diagnosed with cholestasis at 35 weeks, and as a result her midwives scheduled her for an induction at 37 weeks. She was induced with Cytotec over a period of 24 hours. At the end of the 24 hours, the baby’s heart rate started to drop. She was taken to a pre-op room for monitoring where it was quickly determined that the baby was not tolerating the induction well and she needed a C-section. The doctors put her under general anesthesia because she had just eaten (due to an outdated, not-evidence-based hospital policy). She met her son about two hours after he was born. 

Joaquín, July 2021: Emily really wanted a VBAC after her traumatic C section birth. Around 25 weeks she learned that her baby was measuring small, in the 11th percentile. His percentile continued to drop and he was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. At 37 weeks he was measuring in the 4th percentile. As a result, Emily was scheduled for an induction at 38 weeks. This time she wasn’t eligible for cervical ripening meds like Cytotec so she was offered a Foley balloon. After 48 hours, 3 different Foley balloons, an epidural, and some Pitocin, she had a successful VBAC.

IUGR birth story VBAC

Emily Taylor Bio

Emily lives in Northeast Washington D.C. with her wife Sofia, her sons Rafa and Joaquín, and their many, many houseplants. She works as a product manager for an education tech company. Emily loves baking projects, swimming laps, city adventures, and that 8 p.m. moment when both kids are finally asleep. She dislikes diet culture, the American healthcare system, and when people put bananas and melon in fruit salad. Feel free to connect with her via email at tayloremily2@gmail.com, especially if you live in the DC area and are looking for mom friends!

Resource

Evidence Based Birth

Premama Wellness

Today’s episode is sponsored by Premama Wellness. Premama creates doctor-backed supplements that support every stage of your maternity wellness journey. From balancing hormones, to trying to conceive, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding nutritional support. All Premama supplements are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan or vegetarian, with no additives and no synthetic flavors. Discover why moms (and dads-to-be!) trust Premama wellness for their nutritional support by visiting Premamawellness.com. You can use the code BirthHour25 for 25% off your purchase!

Planned Homebirths in New Zealand turned Cesarean Breech Births and Secondary Infertility Discussion

With her first pregnancy, Grace was lucky enough to get pregnant when ‘trying, but not trying’. She had a straightforward pregnancy and was planning to have a homebirth under the care of an excellent midwife with a lot of experience. At 38 weeks Grace’s water broke on a Monday afternoon, contractions started, they quickly became regular with 3-4 decent contractions every 10 minutes that she had to work through. Grace labored at home through the night with her husband, sister and midwife supporting her. By Tuesday morning labor was stalling and was stop and start all day. On Wednesday Grace spent the day doing the Miles circuit and having acupuncture to try and get things moving.

On Thursday, Grace opted to go into the hospital to get induced and was only 2cm. She was given Cervidil midday, progressed to 3cm and then was put on a Pitocin drip and given antibiotics since it had now been 3 days since her waters had broken. By 2am on Friday there was still no progress and it was decided that the best course of action was a C-section. At 4am on Friday (nearly 4 days after labor first began) Ezra was delivered and much to everyone’s surprise he was Breech.

As it turns out Grace has a partial bicornuate uterus which hadn’t been picked up in any scans – this results in your uterus being a heart shape with two pockets. Ezra’s head was lodged in one of the pockets so it didn’t present as a typical breech and in all vaginal examinations and palpations of baby nobody had realized. 

surprise breech baby

Despite labor being the opposite to what Grace imagined, it was a very positive birth. Grace had an amazing team around her who made sure she got to make decisions and have a voice during her time at the hospital. 

Grace went on to have a beautiful postpartum period. Ezra was an excellent feeder and she was cared for well by her midwife, friends, family and church. 

Grace’s journey to her second pregnancy was longer than expected. After a year of trying Grace was diagnosed with secondary infertility with no obvious answers as to why. It was thought the uterus shape may have been contributing. 2.5 years in to trying Grace was booked in for an investigative surgery to see if they could snip the septum and the uterus could resume a more normal shape. A week before surgery Grace found out she was pregnant. 

Grace felt anxious in the first 12 weeks as there is a high chance of miscarriage with partial bicornuate uterus as the embryo can implant into the septum and not get enough nutrients. Thankfully there were no issues and Grace had an uneventful pregnancy up until 31 weeks when she developed an “irritable uterus”. This meant hours of sore tightening’s every few days until she gave birth at 39 weeks. 

having baby during lockdown new zealand

This time it was obvious by 28 weeks this baby was also breech so the decision was made to have an elective C-section, however Grace was hoping to go into spontaneous labor and then have the C-section. When Grace was 38 weeks pregnant, New Zealand was put into a strict lockdown for 8 weeks. Everyone was to remain at home and not see anybody outside of their homes. It also meant Grace’s husband was not allowed to stay once she was in recovery and would not be able to see her again until she came home. At 39 weeks, Grace woke at 1am to her waters breaking, within 10 minutes she was having regular strong contractions. She went in to the hospital with her midwife and husband and by 4am Micah was delivered via C-section. Grace spent one night in the hospital and was able to go home to be with her family the next day. Grace had another great recovery and felt well supported even if it was more from afar this time around. 

Grace Sheat Bio

Grace lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband James and two energetic boys, Ezra and Micah. She is a Speech and Language Therapist who loves getting to work closely with families in the community. In her spare time she can be found exploring all the beautiful places NZ has to offer with her family. Connect with Grace via email at grace.j.sheat@gmail.com.

Resources

BabyIt from Fairhaven Health

This episode is sponsored by Fairhaven Health. Fairhaven Health offers a wide range of products for fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and women’s health. Today, we’re highlighting a product from their vaginal care line – BabyIt Perineal Massage and Postpartum Gel. BabyIt is a water-based, isotonic and paraben-free gel designed specifically for perineal massage during pregnancy, and to soothe sore tissues postpartum. Fairhaven Health is generously offering 15% off of all products with the code BirthHour15 at www.fairhavenhealth.com

Gestational Diabetes, Cord Prolapse Emergency Cesarean, and Triple Feeding Postpartum

Barbara found out that she was pregnant at the end of January 2020 after two months of trying. This felt like a special gift to her and Joe because they had been in conflict about whether to have children much of their marriage and had pursued counseling and done much relational work in order to come to this place together.  This was also amazing because Barbara also long suspected that she had PCOS though was not diagnosed until she started to try to get pregnant.

Barbara experienced very early spotting, nausea through week 16, leg cramps, and the usual tiredness throughout pregnancy, though mostly felt great. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in her late second trimester and took insulin and closely monitored her diet. She remained active walking and working as an SLP until her position went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Barbara planned a hospital birth with midwives and hired a doula that specialized in postpartum support.  She wrote the hospital in order to ask for an exception to allow her doula at her birth since her husband has a disability; this was granted. She hoped for an unmedicated birth and prepared with the Know Your Options course, books and meditation practice.

Towards the end of Barbara’s pregnancy, her sugar remained well controlled and she was monitored for UGR and fetal size/health with increased non-stress tests. Given her age and GDM status, her midwives did mention the possibility of recommending an induction at 39 weeks which Barbara hoped to avoid. Overall she felt great though and hoped to continue as long as possible without any interventions.

barbara bova birth story

Barbara’s water broke while sleeping the night of September 23rd, 2020 around 11:30 p.m. when she was 38 weeks pregnant. Since she was group B strep positive, her instructions were to head to the hospital as soon as possible for antibiotics.  Barbara called her midwives who confirmed the plan and stated that medication for an induction would likely be the next step since she hadn’t had any contractions. She and her husband finished packing and left home around 12:10 a.m. En route to the hospital, Barbara began tracking contractions, which were mild but regular at 3 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds each.  It was a pleasant trip overall.

At the hospital, Joe and Barbara checked the car into valet and walked into check-in together with bags. Their temps were scanned and they were brought up to triage. Joe’s visitor tag read 00:37 check in time. In triage a nurse was unsuccessfully trying to get a vein for a hep-lock while another nurse put a monitor on Barbara. The baby’s heartbeat was found and the first monitored contraction that Barbara had, both she and the nurse noted that baby’s heartbeat went down to zero.  The nurse quickly paged someone on her phone and seconds later a team of people arrived all communicating different things. A female OB shouted “ can we just CHECK HER?” and she found that the baby’s cord was prolapsed.  The OB then manually inserted her hand into Barbara in order to hold baby’s head off of his cord while Barbara was rushed to the OR for an emergency C-Section and Benedict was born healthy at 1:05 a.m.  with high apgar scores and good blood gasses. He was 6 lbs 3 oz and 19.5 inches long. He was in his father’s arms at 1:10 a.m. a calm and even smiling child.

Barbara woke a couple hours later and while the first moments were hazy, she recalls an overall pleasant postpartum experience with mild anxiety symptoms resolving over the course of the following days.

Longer term postpartum was influenced by triple feeding recommendations and difficulty though ultimately successful initiation of breastfeeding.

baby born during covid

Barbara Bova Bio

Barbara lives in central Connecticut with her husband Joe of 12 years, her 14 month old son, Benedict, and two cats. She works as a speech-pathologist for adults and children but most of her experience is with adults in neuro-rehabilitation.  She is at home with baby at present. Joe works as a software engineer and has cerebral palsy. While he walks and drives with modifications to a vehicle, his strength, balance, agility and dexterity are impaired. Connect with her at Barbara Bova (Facebook), via email Barbara.a.bova@gmail.com or via Instagram: @arabrabz

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!