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!

Precipitous, Unassisted VBAC in a Moving Car after Planned C-section

Emily’s first birth was a c section. She was planning to give birth unmedicated, with midwives and her doula at the Connecticut birthing center in Danbury. After she found out her son was breech, she did everything she could to try to get her son to flip. Wanting to still give birth vaginally, Emily desperately tried to find a breech provider to no avail. She was absolutely devastated and finally decided on a planned, family centered c section. 

It took years to work through the pain and disappointment of not being “allowed” to birth her baby. She spent three years preparing her mind, body, and soul to have a triumphant, healing VBAC.

At 37 weeks and 4 days into her next pregnancy, Emily attended a family wedding in Lancaster, PA. After the wedding, she and her husband, Travis, went back to the hotel room to go to sleep. A half hour later at midnight, her water breaks. Labor hadn’t started and she knew she probably had a long night/day ahead of her, so she decided to get some rest before they drove back to New York, and eventually to Danbury, CT. At 3am, contractions started and were immediately intense and close together. They packed up the hotel room and hopped in the car around 4am making their way back. All Emily had was her gentlebirth contraction timer and a water bottle in the back seat.

giving birth in car

A whirlwind 1 hour and 45 minute later, their daughter, Rosemary, was born unassisted while her husband was still driving. She didn’t know she was that close until she felt her head crowning. Emily credits her calm, empowering birth to all her birth preparation and training as an opera singer. The total labor from first contraction to baby was 2 hours and 45 minutes!  Emily’s birth story has gone viral, and has been featured on the Today show, Inside Edition, USA Today, Good Morning America, People, and more.

Emily Geller Hardman Bio

Emily is a professional opera singer and mom to Wesley (3 years old) and Rosemary (6 months). She lives with her husband, Travis, in Westchester, NY. She’s passionate about all things birth and is happy to connect via social media. www.emilygeller.cominsta:@emilygellerfacebook: Emily Geller Contralto 

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.

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!