Beautiful, Serene “Gentle Cesarean” Birth for Breech Baby

After Caroline and her husband, Matt, learned they would be welcoming their first baby in July 2020, they established care with a midwifery practice and hoped for a low-intervention birth experience. Except for a brief bleeding scare about 6 weeks into the pregnancy, and a case of gestational thrombocytopenia that resolved itself in the third trimester, Caroline had an easy and active pregnancy. 

At their 20-week anatomy scan, the technician laughed that they had a little breech baby, knowing that babies constantly change positions that early in the pregnancy. However, at every subsequent ultrasound, baby continued to present in the breech position. Around 32 weeks, the midwives discussed possible interventions to turn the baby (whose sex was a surprise), explaining that no one in the state of Maine would perform a vaginal breech birth. During this time, COVID-19 hit and they learned that their hired doula would no longer be able to attend their birth. 

Caroline and Matt began trying everything under the sun to turn their baby head down in an effort to avoid a c-section: moxibustion, acupuncture, Spinning Babies, flips in the pool, and two ECVs. Ultimately, Caroline found acceptance in a scheduled c-section and loved her birth experience. She was able to advocate for all of the gentle cesarean practices including immediate skin to skin, a clear drape, arms free, music playing, etc. Aila Mae Roy was brought into the world in a beautiful, serene birth on July 2, 2020 at 9:25am. 

caroline-culbertson

Caroline Culbertson Bio

Caroline Culbertson is a ‘southern girl transplant’ living on a farm in the Portland, Maine area with her husband Matt, daughter Aila, and a menagerie of animals. She is a life-long equestrian. Follow her on Instagram @caroline.culbertson

Resources

Cord Blood Registry

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.

Healing Repeat Cesarean and VBA2C Birth Stories

First pregnancy and birth

Victoria’s first pregnancy with her honeymoon baby went smoothly. She watched “The Business of Being Born,” and decided that an intervention free birth was what she wanted. She chose a hospital with certified nurse midwives and the lowest cesarean rate in town. She believed she was all set, and decided not to hire a doula or pursue comfort measure classes. Labor started at 40 weeks and 3 days. 

After seventeen hours of labor, most of it with an epidural, she consented to a cesarean and met the newest love of her life under a large blue drape. The meeting was shortened when she started feeling pain during suturing. Her son was whisked away to be measured while her husband and the nurse anesthetist tended to her. Once the suturing was completed, and the cocktail of drugs took effect, she was back in bright spirits and was able to breastfeed during the golden hour, before introducing her son to his extended family. 

OR for birth

Second pregnancy and birth

Despite an emotional first labor and birth, and a Graves’ Disease diagnosis four months postpartum, Victoria and her husband were eager to add another baby to their family. They found out about baby number two on Black Friday, when their oldest son was nine months old. 

This time they hired a doula, saw a pelvic floor therapist, and was involved with their local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) chapter. She decided to continue prenatal care at the same hospital as her oldest son’s birth, hoping for a redemptive birth. Around 24 weeks, she received a letter from her medical insurance saying that this hospital was no longer in network and she needed to find care elsewhere. 

Shortly after receiving that letter, Victoria and Jeff met a well-known, VBAC supportive doctor at an ICAN Q&A meeting. They decided that night to switch to his care.

At her 40 week and 5 day prenatal appointment, Victoria and her doctor had “the talk” about options. She expressed her recent feelings that she was supposed to have a cesarean, and he advised her to call her husband and to pray about it. After a short phone call in office, they decided to go ahead with a repeat cesarean, and scheduled it for that evening. Their family centered cesarean was the healing birth she hoped for. At a day old, her son was diagnosed with sagittal synostosis, a birth defect where the suture lines of the skull fuse prematurely. To further complicate things, Baton Rouge and surrounding areas experienced a 1000 year flood only two days after his birth.

Third pregnancy and Birth

Two years after their second son was born, Jeff and Victoria felt the time was right to add to their family, and got pregnant on the first try-again! Sadly, their pregnancy ended in a miscarriage two and a half weeks later. Eleven months and one more early miscarriage later, they were finally pregnant again. This time, they saw the very first heartbeats of their baby girl at five weeks and five days, and found out that she shared a due date with her oldest brother.

They wrestled with the decision to hire a doula and ultimately decided to take a comfort measures class at 38 weeks instead and to keep their labor as a bonding moment between the two of them. Labor started at midnight at 40 weeks and 4 days. Fifteen hours later they were holding their sweet VBA2C baby!

Victoria Lero Bio

Victoria is a stay at home mom from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her husband, Jeff, is a firefighter and they’ve been married since 2014. Their three incredible kids bring so much joy and laughter to their lives! Victoria is a self-proclaimed birth nerd and hopes to one day support families through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in some capacity (be it through doula support, midwifery, or a podcast).

 She loves to connect with others, and you can reach her through Instagram @LoveLero or Gmail victorialynnlero@gmail.com

Babylist

Today’s episode is sponsored by Babylist. The people at Babylist believe that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry easily lets you add any item from any store. Plus, Babylist helps you each step of the way with their customized checklist, product guides and reviews, and personal registry consultants. They’ve even got group gifting! Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth over $100 while boxes last.

Cesarean Breech Delivery with Oligohydramnios

Georgiana describes the first half of her pregnancy as pretty stress-free and idyllic; from a fairly easy conception process, to loving the midwifery practice they chose, and learning everything she could about hypnobirthing /natural birth, Georgiana and her OBGYN husband, Salvatore, felt like they were coasting through pregnancy.

Things began to intensify between 22 – 32 weeks.  The pandemic broke out and was particularly severe in their home of the New York City/ Long Island region. Salvatore became a front line worker during Georgiana’s third trimester. Just as they had received news that the baby was breech and started discussing options, Georgiana was diagnosed with oligohydramnious and began twice weekly monitoring by Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors. After being faced with needing to transfer care at 34 weeks, Georgiana wound up letting go of the “hypnobirth of her dreams” due to the need for an urgent caesarean section at 37 weeks. This story ends with a wonderful, healthy baby boy born in the middle of the pandemic, with a finale of post partum anxiety that no one saw coming.

Georgiana Bio

Georgiana is a Mental Health Counselor in New York City, currently finishing her post-graduate training at New York Anxiety Treatment. Georgiana and Salvatore met in 2015 in Brooklyn, New York as he was about to start an OBGYN residency and she was beginning graduate school. Their son, Tomo Cosimo was born in June 2020. In her free time, Georgiana enjoys writing, running and trying new restaurants…  and she looks forward to doing so again once the pandemic is over!

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 loungewear including the Clea Bamboo PajamasBetsy Ribbed Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Nightgown, and Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Lounge Pants.

VBAC with Twins & Baby Born with Hearing Loss

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. 

hearing loss baby

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. 

Resources

Cord Blood Registry

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.

Prenatal PPD & PPA During COVID-19, IUGR, ECV, Breech Cesarean Birth with Virtual Doula

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).

new baby during covid

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 shana.silverstein@gmail.com.

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

Using Hypnobirthing for Pregnancy Challenges and Childbirth

At Nathalie’s twenty week ultrasound, she learned that she was at high risk for placental challenges and pre-term labor. In the eighteen weeks between her twenty week ultrasound and birth, she would make over 52 visits to various doctor’s offices, including twice-weekly non-stress tests and dopplers. The gravity of Nathalie’s health challenges and her desire to make it to term caused an overwhelming amount of stress. To cope with her anxiety, Nathalie turned to Expectful’s meditations and hypnobirthing. Within one week of using Expectful, Nathalie saw her condition stabilize, and she was able to make it to term.

At 38 weeks and one day, Nathalie went into precipitous labor. She was so entranced with her hypnobirthing exercises that she didn’t realize she was in labor. Nathalie arrived at the hospital eight centimeters dilated and continued to labor unmedicated until it was time to push. At this time it became evident that she was having a placental abruption. Nathalie was quickly whisked away to the operating room, where she received general anesthesia and had an emergency c-section. Her delivery doctor called her birth “an emergency of all emergencies.”

hypnobirthing expectful

Thankfully, Nathalie and her son, Everett, have recovered, and both are doing well today. Her experience with the failure of the US healthcare system as it pertains to nurturing the mental and emotional wellbeing of pregnant and new mothers prompted her to leave her career in tech to join Expectful as the CEO.  Her motivation for joining Expectful is to provide universal access to evidence-based wellness solutions, such as meditation, that help millions of women worldwide navigate the new state of parenthood.

Nathalie Walton Bio

Nathalie is the CEO of Expectful, the go-to wellness app for growing families. She has spent the last eight years in leadership roles at Airbnb, Google, and eBay. Nathalie lives in San Francisco with her husband, Max, and their one-year old son, Everett. You can find Nathalie on IG @expectful or @nathaliewalton

Resource

Expectful Meditation App

Expectful

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.