Gentle Induction Twin Birth Story in the UK

All of Charity’s babies were born in the UK. Her oldest son was born vaginally on the operating table as preparations were being made for an emergency cesarean section, and her second son was born in the complete opposite atmosphere – peacefully in a birth tub in the living room of her small flat in central London. When Charity found out her third pregnancy was a twin pregnancy, she was utterly shocked. She immediately went to work preparing and advocating for an unmedicated twin birth in hospital, and the arrival of her babies after a gentle induction and through-the-night labor was powerful. 

Listen to Charity’s first two birth stories here.

twin birth in UK

Charity Eyre Wright Bio

Charity is a mom of four that recently relocated from London, England (where all her babies were born) to Provo, Utah. Her oldest had just turned four years old when her twins were born – so her stay-at-home mom life is chock full of chaos … and joy! Charity’s professional background is in education, and she is passionate about women educating themselves about the wonder and power of pregnancy and childbirth. Connect with her on IG @CharityEyreWright or via wrightnowblog.com.

Betterhelp

Today’s episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Pregnancy and new parenthood can be extremely stressful and many struggle with their mental health. Which is why we want you to Check out BetterHelp.combirthhour.  BetterHelp will assess your needs and match you with your own licensed  professional therapist so you can Connect in a safe and private online environment and you can start within 48 hours of signing up!

BetterHelp matches you with a counselor based on questions you answer during sign up AND they  make it easy and free to change counselors if needed. BetterHelp is more affordable than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is  available. As a listener, you’ll get 10% off  your first month by visiting our sponsor at BetterHelp.com/birthhour.

Three Births: Birth Center, Hospital Birth and Homebirth Stories

GOLDIE JO

After trying to conceive for 7 months and and experiencing an early loss Sionann fell pregnant with her first child, Goldie, in May of 2019.

Her pregnancy with Goldie was mostly uneventful other than navigating a decision to change insurance providers in order to open up Birth Centers as an option. Sionann chose to have an out of hospital birth and loved the midwifery model of care. 

Going “post dates,” Sionann resorted to taking a midwives brew of castor oil to induce labor at 41+5. It worked and Sionann worked through early labor by walking laps around their property (unbeknownst to her husband who was doing yard work with huge ear protection on so he couldn’t hear her in labor).

They eventually made their way to the BC (a harrowing drive) and Sionann was 6-7cm! It was go-time! After coping well through a manageable labor through lots of position changes, nitrous oxide, tears, and long pushing phase due to an asynclitic presentation and cervical lip, Goldie Jo finally joined us in the world on 2/10/2018 after almost 15 hours of labor. 8lbs 5oz!

hospital birth

LAYLA JUNE

The choice to have a second child came easily but conceiving took some work. Sionann suffered 3 miscarriages before becoming pregnant with Layla in May of 2019.

They were excited to plan a home birth for this 2nd baby but a placenta previa diagnosis changed those plans. They decided to pursue a hospital birth due to being in limbo about whether Sionann would be cleared for a vaginal birth.

In the end she was cleared and things moved forward! Sionann finally went into labor at 40+5 (late again lol) after a rough membrane sweep. The hospital experience was much different than the birth center and Sionann wasn’t as prepared for that as she could have been. 

She was admitted at 4cm but in pretty excruciating pain the entire labor. This was just different than her previous experience, likely made Worse by her anxiety surrounding hospitals in general and unneeded intervention. She wasn’t coping well this time and needed some relief. The nitrous oxide the hospital provided wasn’t working well (it was later discovered that the tank had been empty the whole time!) 

Morphine was administered for some relief while at the same time Sionann’s bulging water bag was broken. The water bag had been preventing baby’s descent and after a few short minutes it was time to start pushing. No long pushing phase this time! Baby Layla was born after 20 hours of labor on 2/8/2020 (narrowly avoiding all the Covid insanity). 8lbs 7oz!

homebirth

AUSTRA MOON

Sionann and Cyrus had always wanted at least 3 kids and planned to start trying for #3 (their last baby) around Layla’s 1st birthday. Sionann began tracking ovulation early to get the hang of it and get a feel for her cycle. They kind of randomly conceived around Christmas of 2020 as a result. They were thrilled fit the opportunity to finally have a home birth!

The pregnancy was much harder this time due to having multiple littles to care for. Sionann’s morning sickness was awful and it was hard for those first couple months.

Things were moving along smoothly until an NIPT result flagged the baby for something called 22q Deletion Syndrome. It’s a “grey diagnosis” with a wide spectrum of things that can be affected. This was gutting news and not knowing how the baby’s quality of life would be was so hard. After a lot of testing and an amniocentesis it was determined that both Sionann AND the baby had 22q Duplication (so not the deletion). This served as a little relief because at least Sionann knew she was a living example of the duplication having minimal interference in her ability to live a happy and healthy life.

The diagnosis required more testing and scans than a usual pregnancy so they were tied to an OB practice until around 36 weeks.

Things with the midwives were so amazing and supportive the entire time. When Sionann went post dates AGAIN they helped her come up with a plan for homeopathics and castor oil that eventually put her into labor at 41+5 after a full day of walking curbs and taking herbs 

She was joined by her amazing doula Katie and team midwives in their home around 9pm and worked through the contractions using her hypnobabies techniques and watching the Office on the birth ball. After a couple of hours everyone decided to go to sleep and get some rest. Sionann tried to just meditate and breathe but needed to move around more. She decided to labor on hand and knees in the shower and quickly realized she was going to need an extra set of hands soon. The doula and midwives came and held space while Sionann mooed, spit, and growled her way through transition. At 12:47 after just 5 hours of labor Austra (Ozzy) was born into Cyrus’ hands. 9lbs 8oz!

It was a really amazing experience to get back the agency she felt had been taken in the hospital. Being able to follow her intuition and birth the way that felt right was so positive and redemptive for everyone.

Through all three postpartum experiences low-supply/ IGT in breastfeeding and postpartum OCD were common themes.

Sionann Ghahremani and her husband, Cyrus, recently relocated to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, CA. They live with their 3 young daughters (Goldie, Layla, and Ozzy), their pug Tallulah, and their cat Marcella. Sionann works as a stay at home mom and Cyrus is in creative marketing and content development. Sionann can be reached on Instagram @sionann_shreds

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.

Epidural Birth, Two Miscarriages, Bilateral Renal Agenesis Diagnosis, & Elective Induction

Lauren’s birth journey began with her first pregnancy, which was easy and uneventful. She planned on a drug-free delivery, but was pleasantly surprised with her experience of getting an epidural after being induced and laboring 8 hours without pain medication on Pitocin.  Her first birth was followed by an early miscarriage on her daughters first birthday.  She got pregnant again a few months later with her son, Jack. The pregnancy was going smoothly until the 20 week anatomy scan when she discovered he had a fatal condition called bilateral renal agenesis – when the baby’s kidneys  are completely absent.  She and her husband made the heart wrenching decision to end her pregnancy with Jack instead of having him potentially suffer. Lauren wanted to give birth to Jack naturally, but placenta previa prevented her from doing so and at 21.5 weeks gestation she needed a D&E. 

Bilateral Renal Agenesis pregnancy

Two months after Jack passed away Lauren fell pregnant again but she knew something was off from the start. After weeks of what was presumed to be an ectopic pregnancy, she miscarried naturally on the day she was to get an injection of methotrexate – a medication that would have delayed another attempt at conception for at least three months.  A month later she became pregnant with her second daughter, who was conceived on Jack’s due date.  She went on to have a healthy, yet heavily anxiety-riddled pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 39.5 weeks after an elective hospital induction.

Connect with Lauren on IG: @modernmontimama or via Email: Modernmontimama@gmail.com

Resource

Sneak Peek Test

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

Pregnancy and Birth During the Global Pandemic as a Black Woman in 2020

After trying for about a year, Tiffany found out she was pregnant in February 2020. After the first visit with her midwife, the stay-at-home orders went into place. Navigating a pregnancy during a pandemic had a lot of pros and cons but one thing she enjoyed was being able to rest as much as she could. Aside from dealing with a global pandemic and some fatigue and nausea during the first trimester her pregnancy was textbook and she enjoyed it.

Tiffany labored for as long as she could at home, which was about 11 hours, then went to the hospital and labored for another 7. Although she has some mixed feelings about her doula support, in the end her unmedicated hospital birth was what she wanted and she feels empowered that she was able to do it the way she wanted at 41w5d.

Tiffany Smith Bio

Tiffany is a full time stay-at-home mom. She works part time as a nutrition coach and pilates instructor. She has been married to her husband for 4 years and they have a son, Maverick, a cat and 2 dogs. They live in Maryland in a suburb just outside of DC.

Connect with her on Instagram: @tiff_tts or via email: ttownsend388@gmail.com

birth during covid

Resources

Washington D.C. Area Local Recommendations

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.

Zika Scare and PPROM Birth Story while Living Abroad During Covid

After trying for the better part of 2019 to get pregnant with no luck, J.J. and her partner decided to put having a family on hold for 2 years in order to move from their home in Geneva, Switzerland to Myanmar (Burma) for a 2-year work assignment. Before leaving Switzerland and taking a 2 year break off of trying for a baby, they even froze embryos via J.J.’s generous health insurance in order to not have to worry about facing difficulty later down the road. To say that the next two years did not go as planned would be an understatement. A few months after arriving in Myanmar (Burma) in January 2020, J.J.’s employer evacuated her and her partner to Thailand due to the threat of facing a pandemic within a country with some of the worst healthcare in the world (they could not both be evacuated to their home countries since they don’t have the same passport(s), thus they were sent to Thailand). Due to an intense, prolonged bout of salmonella messing up her system during the month of March, J.J. unexpectedly found herself pregnant while living out of a suitcase during a global pandemic in Phuket, Thailand while they waited for the Myanmar borders to re-open. Early pregnancy was difficult for J.J. as she was nauseas 24 hours a day and had intense food aversions; the silver lining to feeling so awful was that she was working remote while in Phuket and could thus work from bed. Then, when J.J. was 11 weeks pregnant her partner, along with a few neighbors around their Airbnb, came down with mysterious body rashes, headaches and body aches. Their worst fears were confirmed when her partner and the others tested positive for Zika. In order to get out of the area where Zika was obviously active, J.J. and her partner fled Phuket for Bangkok via a long 12 hour journey in the car while still suffering from intense “morning sickness”.

international birth story

Many urine, blood and antibody tests were performed in order to rule out the possibility that J.J. had contracted Zika anytime during the 11 weeks she had been pregnant before leaving Phuket. Not feeling comfortable staying in Thailand as her pregnancy progressed, J.J. left Thailand to spend her 2nd trimester in the German village where her father lives. She spent the next few months missing her partner (who stayed in Thailand) but otherwise having a very peaceful 2nd trimester working remote, taking long walks along the Rhine River listening to the Birth Hour, and getting quality time with her father and German family. A doctor in Germany also finally confirmed that she had not contracted Zika at any point during her pregnancy in Thailand. Then, a 2nd wave of COVID-19 in August 2020 confirmed that the Myanmar borders would not open anytime soon and therefore J.J. and her partner reunited in Europe in September 2020. Determined to have a vacation before welcoming a child into their family, J.J. and her partner spent the month of October in Greece before returning to the Geneva, Switzerland area in November to have their daughter. While seeing an OBGYN for a check up in Athens, a toxoplasmosis test was performed because stray cats are so rampant in Greece. Unfortunately, that test came back positive; this did not help J.J.’s already fragile mental/emotional state after having already dealt with Zika.

The same week J.J. was meant to sign off from work and have a month of pre-partum tranquility and birth preparation, J.J. experienced preterm premature rupture of the membrane (PPROM). After checking into the hospital and receiving antibiotics to avoid infection, their daughter Zoé was born 2 days later (exactly 4 weeks early) during the height of the 2nd wave of COVID-19 in Geneva, Switzerland. While J.J. originally wanted to attempt an unmediated birth, because she went into active labor at midnight and labored for 9 hours without dilating past 2 centimeters, her exhaustion helped her make the choice to get the epidural along with a generous amount of Pitocin. After a post-epidural nap, J.J. woke up fully dilated, pushed for less than 5 minutes and Zoé was born at 2.7 kilograms (5.9 lb) and 47 centimeters long (pretty good for 4 weeks early!). Unfortunately, during the skin-to-skin period there was a chaotic, and frantic search for a retained membrane wherein almost 10 medical staff searched in vain for 20 minutes before finding and removing the membrane. Despite having a baby less than 6 lb, J.J. had 2nd degree tears on her labia and cervix.

newborn baby smiling

In Switzerland you are forced to choose the baby name within 3 days. Unfortunately, due to her early arrival and the COVID-19 restrictions only allowing her partner at the hospital 1 hour a day, they chose the “wrong” name for their daughter and ended up going with a different one when she was 2 months old (they’re still in the administrative process of changing it!), Otherwise, after 6 days together in the hospital together wherein Zoé was treated for temperature regulation and jaundice, J.J. and baby left the hospital in early December. Post-partum included some intense hormones (post partum rage), a difficult breastfeeding journey and pretty severe social isolation due having a pre-term pandemic baby in the middle of winter. A few weeks after the birth, J.J. and her partner were able to meet with the head midwife from the hospital in order to fully debrief with her the events before/during/after her daughter’s birth (she had a full, minute-by-minute transcript of the birth); this service is offered routinely to women in Switzerland that didn’t “love” their birth experience and at least for J.J. and her partner it helped immensely in better processing the birth of their daughter.

At 3 months post partum, the same day J.J. and her partner received Zoé’s passport in order to return ‘home’ to Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), the Burmese military staged a coup d’etat and imprisoned the democratic leaders of Myanmar. Therefore, J.J. and her family now live in Thailand and will return to their ‘real’ home in Switzerland at some point next year.

J.J. Fleskes Bio

I am a 35 year old German American (raised between Florida and Massachusetts) and have been an ‘expat’ for the past 12 years in Germany, Nepal, Switzerland, Singapore, Myanmar and Thailand (though Switzerland has become my primary home base). I work in the international NGO domain as a project manager and business development specialist. I live with my partner of 5 years and our 11 month old daughter Zoé in Thailand. Connect with her on Instagram @jjfleskes.

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!

Positive Birth Center to Hospital Transfer + Joyful Postpartum

Claire shares her pregnancy and birth story which includes misdiagnoses during labor, a hospital transfer from a birth center, and an empowering and joyful postpartum experience. 

Claire and her partner became pregnant in May 2020, a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit California. She sought hospital care and experienced some anxiety during pregnancy which she worked with a therapist to move through and process. Claire transferred to a birth center late in her second trimester to prepare for a low-intervention birth.

Claire’s labor was complicated. At 41.2 weeks, she agreed to have her membranes swept. Beginning around 10am that day, she experienced regular contractions that grew in intensity and frequency. All signs pointed to active labor. By the afternoon, her duration and frequency of contractions were such that her midwives recommended she come to the birth center to be checked and hopefully admitted. When she was checked, she learned that she had not yet progressed enough to be admitted to the birth center, and was sent home. Around midnight, her contractions and labor had progressed again. Her husband, sister (doula), and midwife recommended she come back to the birth center to be admitted and deliver the baby. 

Breastfeeding jewelry

Claire got in the tub at the birth center and labored for another 6 hours, experiencing back labor and frequent, intense contractions which she worked through attempting spinning babies positions and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques. Her sister and husband were her champions, both pressing on her back with their full force of pressure with every frequent contraction. 

To help her concentrate, Claire had requested that she not be told her dilation progress when she was checked. After over 20 hours of early and active labor she learned that was 3cm dilated- the same amount she had been when first checked that day. At the time the midwife team assessed her as experiencing prodromal labor and recommended she leave the birth center to rest at home. Claire decided to transfer to the hospital and elect for an epidural and therapeutic rest to support her progression. 

Claire was assessed at the hospital and learned that prodromal labor was not an accurate diagnosis, in fact, the baby was asynclitic (positioned with her head pressing into Claire’s hip socket rather than engaged on the cervix) and posterior (backward). She was wholly positioned on the right side of Claire’s uterus and because of her odd positioning, she was not able to progress labor. 

At the hospital, Claire received a growth ultrasound measuring the baby’s size and her amniotic fluid. She had not received a growth ultrasound in her third trimester at the birth center. The baby was diagnosed as having IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and Claire and Kasey were advised that the baby would likely need to spend time in the NICU after delivery, and that she was at high risk. 

Claire received an epidural and Pitocin and after many hours more of labor and practicing spinning babies’ positions to try and flip the baby, Claire dilated to 10cm and was able to push. After nearly 3 hours of pushing Claire birthed a healthy, aware and strong baby! She was a healthy weight and was not in fact IUGR. Octavia did not need to be admitted to the NICU. She was able to do a golden hour of skin-to-skin contact and a breast crawl where she latched at her own direction for the first time. 

Claire had tremendous support during postpartum from her sister who is a board certified lactation consultant and postpartum nurse. Claire’s breastfeeding journey was empowering and successful for parent and baby, and although Octavia was on the smaller side when she was born, by her 2-day pediatric appointment she had gained back her full birth weight. Octavia has continued to make health gains since then. Claire worked to maintain breastfeeding even through the distracted 4-month-old phase, and her experience breastfeeding inspired her and her sister to start a business, Boop Bead Shop, where they design and handmake fidget necklaces as breastfeeding tools to engage babies during feeding.

Claire credits the mental health work she did during her pregnancy as setting her up for a healthy and empowering postpartum experience. She is an advocate for reproductive justice and for all people to have the autonomy and access to make the reproductive choices that suit their lives. 

Claire de Leon Bio

Claire de Leon (she/her pronouns) works as a communications strategist for health equity. She’s mom to Octavia and partner to Kasey. Claire studied public health education and in her career has worked to advance birth justice. She is the co-founder of Boop Bead Shop with her sister Rose who is an internationally board-certified lactation consultant. Together with her sister, Claire designs and hand makes fidget necklaces for chestfeeding that respect babies, parents, and the planet. Claire is a creative enthusiast who loves flower arranging, playing with natural dyes, and reading. She lives with her family in Long Beach, California. 
Connect with her on IG @deleonclaire.

Resources

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.