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. 

Gentle Cesarean for Breech Baby & Difficulty Nursing + Postpartum Gallstones

Hillary got pregnant quickly after waiting two years to conceive to get her autoimmune disorder under control and develop a plan for managing the disorder while pregnant. At her 20 week anatomy scan, she learned her baby had a single umbilical cord artery.

With the pandemic underway in her second trimester, she learned at her 34 week check up that her baby girl was breech. After attempting Spinning Babies and chiropractic care to help the baby flip, she did an ECV at 37 weeks that was unsuccessful. She began planning for a surgical birth to be scheduled at 39 weeks, but her water broke a few days after the EVC.

With her doula on the phone as she and her husband Mike drove to the hospital, Hillary looked forward to the most positive birth she could. She and her husband played music, a nurse took photos, and she had a clear drape to allow her to see the baby coming out, and be placed on her chest. The baby needed phototherapy for jaundice the next day, but other than that, was totally healthy.

The biggest challenge back at home (besides sleeping!) was nursing; after 2.5 weeks and a consult with an amazing IBCLC lactation consultant, she weaned. At about 8 weeks postpartum, Hillary got very sick and went to the ER; she was admitted for several days because of gallstones and pancreatitis, and had surgery to remove her gallbladder. Then, about 6 weeks later, she was back in the ER: she had retained stones following gallbladder removal, a rare complication. After another multi-day hospitalization, she made it back home and has been snuggling her baby and her husband ever since.

gentle cesarean

Hillary Dixler Canavan Bio

Hillary Dixler Canavan lives in Los Angeles with her husband Mike and baby Claire. She works in food media, and you can find her on Instagram, @hillarydixlercanavan — she shares photos of food and her baby, and her DM’s are open.

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.


Fallopian Tube Cyst & Breech Baby Cesarean Birth

In March 2018, Hannah found out she had a large cyst on one of her fallopian tubes that required surgical removal of both. This began a conversation between Hannah and her husband about when they should begin their conception journey. They were very lucky and ended up conceiving on their first try. In January 2019, Hannah took a pregnancy test and was ecstatic as she watched the two blue lines form into a plus sign. Hannah enjoyed being pregnant and spent much of her time researching and planning to have an unmedicated birth. But Hannah also spent much of her time a little stressed and uncertain as she worked as a nurse in the Emergency Department of a major hospital during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

At her 37 week appointment, Hannah’s OBGYN discovered that her baby was in the breech position and had also developed a heart arrhythmia. She was sent to Labor and Delivery for further follow up and an ultrasound. Her baby was measuring in the 96th percentile for weight and her amniotic fluid levels were low. The doctors recommended an urgent Cesarean section that evening. Of course, Hannah’s Husband was on the ocean fishing during this time. Luckily, he was able to make it back with an hour and twenty-six minutes before baby was born. Hannah loves her birth story, but it is vastly different from what she had ever imagined and she is still trying to process through what happened and why. She and her husband feel blessed and are happy to have their healthy daughter here!

er-nurse-giving-birth-in-pandemic

Hannah Wildhaber Bio

Hannah Wildhaber lives in Dayton, Oregon, and is married to her high-school sweetheart, Luke. They share their home with a dog named Harold, a cat named Howard, and their new baby girl, Rosemary Jude, welcomed on August 24, 2020. Hannah is an Emergency Department nurse while her husband, Luke, is an agricultural financial loan analyst. In their free time, they are avid outdoors people, spending most of their off days on the water fishing. Connect with her on Instagram: @hannah_wildhaber or on Facebook: Hannah Wildhaber. You can also email her via harder.hannah@gmail.com.

Resources

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

OB/GYN has a Preemie by C-section with Inadequate Anesthesia

During Nicole’s first pregnancy, her baby was diagnosed with a rare intestinal malformation called duodenal atresia. She went into labor at 32 weeks and went on to have a c-section with inadequate anesthesia. Her baby had surgery 3 days after birth and spent a month in the NICU. This experience has helped Nicole better serve her patients as an OB/GYN.

32 week preemie baby

Nicole Rankins Bio

Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins is a board-certified, practicing OB/GYN and mom of 2 who empowers first time moms to feel supported and prepared for pregnancy and birth. Over the last 15 years she’s helped more than 1,000 babies come into this world and has demystified pregnancy and childbirth for thousands more women through her 5-star rated All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast, her free online birth plan class, and her signature online program – The Birth Preparation Course. Visit her website www.drnicolerankins.com and follow her on Instagram @drnicolerankins.

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. 

Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes. 

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!  

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. 

Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes. 

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!