Male Factor Infertility, IVF, Twins and Homebirth
After receiving devastating news about their chances of conceiving due to a severe case of male factor infertility, Ashley and her husband Andrew were thrown into the unknown world of infertility. Ashley of @ashleyizsak found out she was pregnant on her 28th birthday from their first round of IVF with ICSI. Two weeks later, on new years eve, they found out she was expecting mono di twins.
From the start, Ashley struggled with her desire to do things as naturally as possible while being told delivery would take place in an OR with a team of about twenty people. At 20 weeks, they discovered her cervix was shortening and at 24 weeks, they gave her steroid injections to help mature the babies’ lungs. Surprising everyone, she went on to carry the twins past her due date and successfully delivered her twins vaginally at the hospital in an OR.
For five years, they were a happy family of four; yet, every December a bill arrived reminding them of their frozen embryo that remained at the fertility clinic. Ashley struggled with first wanting another baby, then feeling done, and then finally wanting to try for that third baby. In a crazy coincidence, the third embryo would be transferred into Ashley exactly six years later, to the day. At 20 weeks, she and her husband made the decision to switch to midwifery care and pursue a homebirth. Hours shy of the twins sixth birthday, Ashley gave birth at home, in a birth pool, to a beautiful baby boy.
Ashley Izsak Bio
Ashley has been blogging and writing for close to a decade. She is the author of a series of essays including heartfelt glimpses into motherhood and normalizing infertility. Nestled in a small village outside of Ottawa, Ashley, her husband, their twin daughters and baby son, strive for simplicity, joy, and lots of glamping. You can connect with her on Instagram at @ashleyizsak and on her blog Calmly Chaotic.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Birthing From Within
Navigating the Land of IF
How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup: A Guy’s Guide to the World of Infertility (Wonderful book to support men during infertility and amazingly helpful as it guides them to deal with the hormone rollercoaster that is IVF and their female partners.)
Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding & Caring for Twins or More!
One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular
Forum for Infertility Support in Canada
Products I love: Snuggle Me Organic, Earth Mama Organics Perineal Spray & Balm, Kindred Bravely Postpartum Underwear
This podcast episode was supported by Theralogix, makers of the TheraNatal line of nutritional supplements. TheraNatal supplements are specifically formulated to meet a woman’s unique nutrient needs before, during, and after pregnancy. TheraNatal preconception vitamins contain all the nutrients you need to prepare your body for pregnancy, including folate and vitamin D. For women 35 and over, TherNatal OvaVite also contains CoQ10. All TheraNatal vitamins are dye-free, gluten-free, and cost less than the typical insurance co-pay. Use this link at theranatal.com to get 15% off and be sure to enter the giveaway below!
Stillbirth, Waterbirth and Accidental Unassisted Homebirth
After losing her first daughter to stillbirth, Heidi had a complicated pregnancy journey to her second birth. But the storm clouds lifted when she heard her rainbow baby’s first cries after a long and difficult, but empowering, waterbirth that led her down the path of becoming a birth doula. Despite having been to many births by the time she had her 3rd, Heidi was completely shocked when she didn’t recognize her own labor signs and ended up having a surprise, accidental, unassisted homebirth on her toilet with nobody around but her 3 year old. But things got complicated when the ambulance showed up.
Heidi Kim Bio
After the heartbreaking loss of her first daughter, Heidi turned to her YouTube channel HeidikimTV as a way of journaling. She never expected people to watch, but so many parents connected with her experience as she went on to become pregnant again. Later, when Heidi was working as a birth doula in Tucson, AZ, she and her husband, Ken, realized how little moments you never expect can have an impact on the person you will become. So they set out to capture these moments on their family’s daily YouTube vlog, Sudden Kimpact, which follows their lives as a stay-home mom and teacher-dad. You can find Heidi on YouTube as well as in her Facebook breastfeeding support group More Than Milk.
This episode is sponsored by BabyDoppler.com. Baby Doppler specializes in pregnancy monitors that give parents peace of mind. Their fun and modern products are clinically proven and tested, and provide parents an increased bonding experience by allowing them to listen to their baby’s heart beat in the comfort of their own home.
Sharing a story of miscarriage and subsequent homebirth
After having miscarried in 2016, Karsyn became pregnant early 2017 with her first baby. She didn’t plan a homebirth from the beginning, but changed plans midway through her pregnancy and never looked back. After an uncomplicated pregnancy, Karsyn went into labor in her home eleven days after her due date. Five hours of early labor and five hours of active labor throughout her home and an intense fetal ejection reflex waterbirth brought her Phoenix. Though her pregnancy and labor were pretty ideal, she struggled with breastfeeding and getting Phoenix to gain weight. She’s currently feeding her son exclusively breastmilk and has worked hard to make that possible despite odds stacked against them.
Karsyn DuPree Bio
Karsyn is a blogger, integrative health coach and podcast host in Nashville, TN. She lives with her 3-month old baby boy, Phoenix, husband Collin and two dogs.
The Birth Hour
This episode was sponsored by Ergobaby. Ergobaby creates innovative solutions to meet the needs of today’s parents. With over 30 baby carriers in five different categories, Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents with smart, ergonomic solutions that enable and encourage bonding between parents and babies.
First Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story
Elise and her husband took The Bradley Method birth class to prepare for what turned out to be a marathon birth, 45.5 hours. After being sent home once from the hospital, Elise was finally admitted after 26 hours of labor needing some fluids and rest. Elise finally delivered her firstborn he next day on all fours unmedicated with her midwife, the NICU team, her husband, her birth photographer, and her mom all in the room. She found out she delivered a boy, Shepherd, just moments before having to hand him over to the NICU team for meconium.
Second Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story
Much like her first birth, Elise felt regular contractions early in the morning a day after her due date. She and her husband were determined to make her labor go faster than her previous birth by walking labor out and pumping frequently. Unfortunately, prodromal labor set in just like the previous birth and Elise was only 5cm after 27 hours of labor. After walking around the midwifery clinic twice, Elise went and checked into the hospital with her husband and mom. Her birth photographer showed up within the hour. Although laboring was almost identical to her first baby, the pushing phase was completely different. Elise progressed to 10cm within 3 hours but experienced shoulder dystocia as she started to push. Finally after 32.5 hours of labor, Elise’s baby was born and she found out she had another boy, Judah, before again having to pass him off to NICU for meconium.
Third Birth—Home Waterbirth Story
Although meconium was a real factor with the third baby, Elise was hoping for a quicker labor and no meconium. Contractions started in the early morning from nursing her 2nd son and they never stopped. Elise labored all day going to the chiropractor, resting, walking, and bouncing on the ball, but this labor was looking just as long as the previous two. She crawled into bed early that night trying to rest as much as possible but still needing to get up every 10-12 minutes to manage each contraction. The next morning she finally called her midwife, doula, and birth photographer to come over to her house. Her contractions felt so much more intense than her previous births with counter pressure or positions barely alleviating any pain. Elise sat at 7-8cm dilated for almost 4 hours but finally stretched to 10cm with consented help from her midwife. Elise moved to the birth pool and pushed her surprise baby girl out in 7 minutes. Thus, River was born in the water with no meconium after 31 hours of labor.
Elise Hurst Bio
Elise has 2 fiery sons and one spoiled daughter and lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, Josh. Elise is a speech-language pathologist by trade but has been a professional birth photographer for 2 years now with Elise Hurst Photography. In addition, Elise just recently founded and launched The Photo Regimen to inspire everyday parents and professional photographers to document their families more often in a creative way. You can connect with her on Instagram at either @elisehurstphotography or @thephotoregimen. Here is her photography Facebook page and The Photo Regimen’s Facebook page. You can find her website here.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
The Business of Being Born
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke
Why Not Home documentary
Birth Becomes Her
BabyGlimpse by HumanCode
This episode is sponsored by HumanCode. HumanCode is a personal genomics company that developed the first DNA-powered app, BABYGlimpse. It gives couples a fascinating preview of their children’s potential genetic traits ranging from ancestry to eye color to behaviors and preferences. They are currently running a promotion: 2 kits for $99.98! Visit BABYGlimpse.com to find out more.
Short birth story info
Lisa always knew that she wanted a home birth, but she never anticipated having a marathon labor that would require extra support, including visits to the acupuncturist, the chiropractor, and the hospital. She eventually delivered her perfect daughter at home after over 75 hours of labor with her superstar support team.
Lisa Redfern Bio
Lisa lives in Olympia, Washington with her husband, Mitch, and their 4-week-old daughter, Nora. They spend their days hiking with their dog, foraging for mushrooms, snowboarding, and raising their ducks and chickens.
The Birth Hour!
Pregnancy Forum on Reddit
And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives
Mama Natural pregnancy and birth affirmation cards
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Cristian and Lena struggled to conceive for three years. After one-and-a-half years of trying they sought help through the fertility clinic, which diagnosed Lena with PCOS and an under-active thyroid. After proceeding through all the appropriate tests (like checking for fallopian tube blockage, semen checks, and ruling out all other possible causes) they embarked on the very basic fertility care: Letrozol (similar to Clomid). After trying 3 rounds of Letrozole, they fell pregnant in November 2016.
With the myriad health issues Lena had (asthma, hypothyroidism, hasimotos disease, PCOS and allergies) there was some talk of needing special care on the mainland, which would make her island-based homebirth out of the picture. However, Lena had a very special and amazing midwife who looked deep into the “rules” and said that, provided things were carefully monitored, they could stay with midwifery care on the island. A homebirth was planned, and Lena did many things to promote a very healthy pregnancy in order to keep her dream a reality. The thought of having to travel by boat to get to a birth center or hospital while in labor was unbearable for Lena.
At 9 days over-due, Lena went into labor on a Sunday afternoon at 1pm. The midwife arrived at 3pm, and by then labor was in full swing. Her contractions were intense and back- to-back with little to no breaks in between. Once 10cm dilation was reached, Lena’s midwife helped baby get past a small cervical lip and then performed a very nifty maneuver to help baby drop and get past the pubic bone that he appeared to be stuck on. Moments later, Lena’s waters gushed everywhere and pushing commenced. 45 minutes later (10 hours of labor + 45 minutes of pushing) baby was here at 10:36pm. Cristian caught baby and announced the sex.
Lena suffered a 3rd degree tear and was stitched up nicely by her midwife shortly after. The evening closed with a delicious cheese toastie and bubbles in bed to celebrate.
Lena Whetton Bio
Lena Whetton is a 29-year-old Cake maker and decorator from New Zealand. Her and her husband live on an Island 35 minute ferry ride from the biggest city Auckland. Waiheke is a small Island with a permanent population of around 8,000 however during the summer months it rises to a whopping 20,000!
Lena has recently birthed her first child with Husband Cristian who is a chef so life is all about food! She is currently on maternity leave so spends her days nursing, playing and caring for baby Marlon. Once falling pregnant Lena became birth obsessed and that is how she came across the birth hour, listening to episodes back to back while making cakes all day long. Her mother was a childbirth educator and La Leche League leader back in the day so birth was a very normal thing in her life although she had never witnessed a birth in real life.
Earth Mama Organics
From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mama makes effective organic and natural herbal products for the whole journey of motherhood: pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, and baby care. They’ve been safely nurturing mamas this way since 2002 — and they wouldn’t do it any other way. Be sure to check out some of their latest products like the organic deodorant (that really works!) that Caitlin and I discussed at the end of today’s episode!