Britt delivered her first baby in a hospital with a relatively quick labor, but a tough pushing stage that lasted nearly four hours. She reflects on the birth as a whirlwind from calm to grueling moments. Despite frustrations with hospital protocol and conventional OB care, she felt powerful and strong.
Britt had an incredible birth high the moment her daughter was placed on her chest, but was soon blindsided by feelings of dread and despair when she developed symptoms of postpartum anxiety and depression.
Britt talks about how breastfeeding helped her find some glimmers of happiness in very dark times and how the support of her partner, doctor, and medication, helped her come out on the other side of PPD feeling empowered and changed as a new mama.
Britt Watkins Bio
Britt is a part time public health service provider and part time stay at home mom to her two year daughter, Maya. Britt and her husband, Matt, live in upstate NY where they take full advantage of living near the Adirondack Mountains with hiking, skiing, camping, and traveling. Britt and Matt are also very excited to be expecting their second daughter in just a few short weeks.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Britax Child Safety, Inc. For over 50 years, Britax has been focused on safety you can trust from the very first day. They welcome new moms and dads to parenthood with award-winning car seats and strollers for every lifestyle while providing extra confidence for the journey ahead. At the end of today’s episode, I talk with Britax safety advocate, Sarah Tilton, all about Preparing for the First Ride Home. Learn more about Britax products and safety tips at us.britax.com.
Madeline and Justin found out they were pregnant after TTC for 2 months. She describes her pregnancy as smooth sailing until 26 weeks when she started noticing itching in her feet and entire body. After blood tests, she was diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). She made a plan to be induced at 39 weeks unless her bile acid levels rose above 40. The itching got more intense but the numbers never rose to above 10 (considered normal). She got her blood tested every 2 weeks, NSTs and BPPs weekly.
Her blood pressure was also starting to rise and would be around 135/90 which is slightly elevated. She tested for pre-eclampsia a few times but it was negative. At 37 weeks, the hospital she planned to deliver at announces plans to close the Labor & Delivery floor to make room for COVID-19 patients. Luckily, they didn’t have to do so. Since her BP was on the higher end her doctor decided to induce her a week early at 38 and 2 days. The induction would start at 6 pm on Sunday April 12. At 2am that morning, her water broke on its own, so they headed into the hospital earlier than expected. She was given Pitocin to augment the labor and chose to have an epidural. Jack was born at 10:52 pm Easter Sunday!
Madeline Wrubel Bio
Madeline is married to Justin and mom to Jack, 2 weeks old. They live in a suburb of Detroit and she is a Manager of social media and marketing at a professional development company. She also runs the blog Young, Whole, and Hungry as well as @confessionsofthemodernmom Collaborative Instagram account.
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Shannon went into the labor naturally, the day she was scheduled to be induced. It was snowy outside and her husband timed contractions starting at 3 minutes, two minutes, then 90 seconds apart as they enjoyed walks, brunch, lunch, and labored at their favorite restaurant over dinner.
They texted family and friends with updates and were giddy and nervous thinking thier baby boy may come within a few hours…they didn’t plan on a few days.
Shannon took a peaceful nap in her room and packed last minute items in her hospital bags. She still remembers laying in her quiet bedroom and feeling close and cozy. She went to the hospital and ended up having to stay the night because it had been several hours since her water broke.
Shannon labored through the night and as the sun rose the next morning. She and her husband walked around the hospital, outside, and even home because they lived ten minutes from the hospital. Shannon’s Sister, close friend Gina, and Mom came in the afternoon. They took turns rubbing her back, walking with her, using essential oils, and breathing along with her. They said she was doing an amazing job, they added more Beyonce to her playlists, laughed and cried with her. Shannon labored on.
Shannon used Nitros gas, the robozo, a birthing ball. She dialated, but not enough. She used Citotec to get contractions started, then pitosin, then the jacuzzi tub and finally, after 36 hours, an epidural.
Marcos, was as close to an extension of Shannon as a partner could be. He held her hand as she squeezed through painful contractions. He counted with her, he made her a hospital mix with “Cheery Music.” He got into the tub and held Shannon as she moaned in pain. He whispered over and over that he loved her and was so proud of her from the first hour and as they approached the end of the second day of labor. His words kept Shannon breathing and hopeful.
At hour 43, Shannon’s midwife held her hand, while Marcos held the other. She explained that while Shannon’s contractions were strong the baby was showing signs of distress in the birth canal. Shannon was not dilating and the risk of infection and further complications was increasing. The thing Shannon wanted to avoid was a c-section and the next step, for a safe delivery, was a c-section.
The surgeon sat by Shannon’s bed and with a bright and peppy voice listed off the risks that could occur during surgery, including the removal of my uterus or death and if yes, Shannon was giving permission to go ahead…umm…Sure!?
Shannon remembers having to take off her gold earrings and give them to her Sister and also that she was SO thirsty. As they wheeled Shannon into the operating room she was shaking from the medication and Marcos held her shoulders still. She kept licking her lips and just wanting for it to be over so I could drink a gatorade. They pinched Shannon and asked ” Do you feel this Shannon?” She did. They said “Really?” Then they pinched further down… “Does this feel the same as this?” The two pinches felt the same. She felt the blade of the knife and it hurt. Eventually it numbed but it was more than a little pressure. Shannon just kept staring up at Marcos. Then, quiet.
The baby was having trouble breathing. They were about to take him to the NICU and then… he took a big breath of air and was breathing on his own. No NICU. Shannon heard laughter and saw relief in Marcos’s eyes as he brought Shannon their baby.
Fitz had so much hair and they laid his body haphazardly on my chest while they finished stitching Shannon up. Shannon was shaking and when they laid him on her chest he calmed. His feet and lips looked exactly like Marcos. Shannon remembers the Dr. saying “Shannon, we are just putting your uterus back.” She didn’t love this real time update but was relieved it was over and the baby was actually here. Shannon had started to doubt he would ever come out.
The sweetest moment was when they were wheeling Shannon and the baby into recovery. Shannon explains that her baby was nestled beside her and he confidently grabbed her fingers, like “we got this.”In that moment Shannon felt like they did it together, and they were fine. Shannon felt proud for bringing him here, and strong, and a huge cloud of relief surrounded her new little family.
In the recovery room Marcos held the baby while Shannon rested. They had both been up over 46 hours at that point. Shannon heard grunting and movement like Marcos was trying to wrestle a bull or something. The baby wanted to nurse and was trying to latch onto Marcos. Marcos brought the baby over and his little body melted onto Shannon. He was instantly quiet. Marcos kept saying “Wow, that is what you were looking for. ” He was looking for his Mama… and he found her.
Shannon McQueen Bio
Shannon works at a Startup in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley California with her husband Marcos and three year old son. Connect with her on Instagram @babywokemama and www.babywokemama.com.
Part II of 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.
During a very healthy, normal pregnancy, Karissa was unexpectedly sent to the hospital at 29 weeks with preterm contractions. They determined that she was not in labor and sent her home after a night of observation and medication to bedrest for the next five weeks. Dealing with ongoing contractions for weeks before delivery made it difficult to know when labor was truly beginning. But at 39 weeks Karissa went into labor on her own and delivered a healthy baby girl after 20 hours of laboring. She had an incredibly supportive and positive birth experience and is very grateful for the care she received from the midwife and nurses at the hospital.
Karissa Goding Bio
is Registered Nurse, currently stay at home mom with her one year old little girl, happily married to Carl, an electrical engineer working for the family business. They live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Karissa is passionate about birth and supporting moms and babies!
After the ups and downs of early suspected pre-eclampsia, Emily went past her due date and started labor on her own. But after a high blood pressure reading and high protein in Emily’s urine screen, the hospital midwives thought it best to have her labor jump-started with an induction. After 20 hours, Emily was 6 cm dilated and her water broke with a laugh.
The midwife observed meconium in the water, which meant a little extra monitoring. After 24 hours of induction techniques and with the help of supportive nurses, midwife, and husband, Emily got an epidural. The subsequent 6 hours were calm, peaceful and relaxing as Emily labored in bed with a peanut ball.
After 30 minutes of pushing, Everleigh’s head was born. The midwife instructed Emily to stop pushing as she swiftly and gently removed the cord from around the baby’s neck: with one more push Everleigh was born. Despite fears from meconium, Everleigh cried right away and proved to be the strong, healthy baby girl Emily and her husband spent months praying for. Immediately after she was born, one of the delivery nurses excitedly exclaimed, “Wow she has such long toes!”
Emily Slyter Bio
Emily and her husband, Chase, live in Colorado and enjoy all it has to offer! They are new parents to a chubby-cheeked 7-month-old, Everleigh Grace, and are long-time dog parents to Dolly & Reba.
This episode was sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow 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.
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Laura and her husband got pregnant the first month they tried, then were shocked to discover that it was twins! Her pregnancy was pretty easy aside from a subchorionic hematoma in the first trimester. Laura was able to continue with midwife-led care and was planning to give birth at a local hospital without a NICU as long as she reached 35 weeks gestation before giving birth. That went out the window when her water broke at 33 weeks. She was transferred to an academic medical center with a NICU, and spent a week in the hospital receiving antibiotics; at 34 weeks, she had her labor induced. The induction was long and difficult, and she ended up delivering both babies vaginally but with forceps.
Lola and Phoebe spent 2 weeks in the NICU/Continuing Care Nursery until they could maintain their body temperature and take feedings from bottles. Laura had really wanted to breastfeed, although knew that with twins there were many possible challenges. She pumped exclusively for the first several weeks, then worked on getting the babies to latch. Lola transitioned to breastfeeding at 2.5 months, but Phoebe didn’t start breastfeeding until 5 months! Laura is really glad that breastfeeding worked out, but also realizes that it was only possible because of the many supports she had, including a long parental leave.
Laura Attanasio Bio
Laura is a faculty member in public health whose research focuses on quality and equity in maternity care. She and her husband, Adam, have fraternal twin girls, a dog, and two cats. They live in Western Massachusetts.
FamilyAlbum Photo Sharing App
Today’s episode is sponsored by FamilyAlbum. FamilyAlbum is a family-focused photo sharing app with over 5 million users worldwide. FamilyAlbum helps you save, share, and remember the special moments in your baby’s life. You can even get started before baby is born and document your pregnancy.
FamilyAlbum app offers unlimited free storage, is completely ad-free, and provides smart, automatic organization. But my absolute favorite thing is that you can invite friends and family to view your photos privately and securely. You can even specify which family members see which photos. Your family will be notified when new photos are added and they can leave comments creating a fun conversation! You can also use suggested ideas for monthly photobooks, or create your own and then have them shipped straight to your door. The app keeps your memories safe, allowing you to recover them even if your phone is lost or damaged. To download this fun app head to the apple or google play app store and search for FamilyAlbum, or go to family-album.com!