Embryo Adoption, PROM at 35 Weeks & 43 Hour Induction

After dealing with infertility, Olivia and Isaac turned to embryo adoption to grow their family. Even still, they dealt with a miscarriage before becoming pregnant with their son. 35 weeks later, Olivia realized that her water had been broken for several days, so she and her husband headed to the hospital for an induction. The birth plan went out the window and after 43 hours of induction, their son came into their lives healthy and happy. 

induction after PROM

Olivia Hall Bio

Olivia is a former second grade teacher, married to her preacher husband Isaac. They live in a small town in Kentucky with their 10 month old son, Elias and cat baby, Lucy. Olivia and Isaac tried to conceive for about 3 years before deciding to go to the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville, TN and pursue embryo adoption to grow their family. After a healthy pregnancy and beautiful baby boy, Olivia now has her dream job, being a stay at home mom. The three of them are homebodies and love spending time with family. Connect with her via email at oliviamcmillan314@gmail.com.



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.

Wisdom Talk

Join Bryn for a Wisdom chat where she will share her birth stories and invite those on the call to ask questions or share your own stories. The Q&A will be on December 27 at 10am CT on the Wisdom app: https://joinwisdom.audio/thebirthhour

Positive Unmedicated Hospital Birth Unexpected OR Vaginal Delivery

Melissa sometimes hears that she leads a charmed life, and the fact that her baby arrived on his due date was no surprise. She was fortunate to have what they call a “textbook pregnancy”, in which she was swimming and running until the day before the baby came. She had some minor contractions on the day before her due date – which her husband recognized as contractions before she did. She woke up to strong contractions at 2 am, and spent a few hours at home before heading to the hospital. Her doula Nicole met her there shortly, which was a good thing because Melissa was clinging to the side of the hospital bed and didn’t want to move until Nicole coaxed her away. Melissa was aiming to have an unmedicated birth experience if it was possible, and she was successful in that goal. Having her doula and her husband by her side were immensely helpful, as well as the support from the hospital’s nurses in achieving a natural birth.

After only 4.5 hours at the hospital, it was time for the baby to enter the world – though labor took an unexpected turn just as she started pushing. The baby’s heart was decelerating with each push, and the doctor thought it might be necessary to do an emergency C-section. Melissa was wheeled to the operating room, where she was greeted by bright lights, a cold sterile table, and eight clinicians in the room. There she was given one more opportunity to push, and push she did. With the help of six nurses cheering for her, she was able to deliver the baby in only a few minutes. (Melissa was very glad that she had trained for a half Ironman prior to birth).

After almost two days in the hospital, she and her husband decided to name their son Emerson. The next few days were the absolute highest that Melissa has ever been on life, as she was so thrilled to have Emerson join their family. With the help of physical therapy and gradual recovery, Melissa is back to her regular active lifestyle. Emerson is now 16 months old and continues to be her greatest joy.

birth during covid

Melissa Noel Bio

Melissa lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Mark, her son Emerson, and goldendoodle named Griffey. She works at the Mayo Clinic where she partners with clinicians to bring innovative care models and new clinical services to life. Melissa holds degrees in bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and business administration from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of St. Thomas. She enjoys competing in triathlons, spending time outdoors with her family, and traveling the globe. She can be contacted on Instagram at @melissa.m.noel. 

Recommended 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

PCOS, Birth Center in Geneva, and Unexpected Homebirth in Germany

Sarit and Jakob lived in Geneva, Switzerland when they first started trying to have a baby. Sarit was diagnosed shortly thereafter with PCOS, so she learned to advocate for herself within the Swiss medical system. Almost a year later and with the help of letrozole, she was pregnant. Sarit then used her newfound skill of self-advocacy and the privilege of good health insurance to surround herself with kind, evidence-based providers for the birth of their son. This eventually translated into choosing a birth center in central Geneva close to the university hospital and hiring a doula. Sarit and Jakob also self-educated and prepared for the birth as much as possible, taking multiple courses including the Know Your Options birth course, and practicing coping techniques such as Hypnobabies hypnobirthing.


Their son’s birth, 48 hours from start to finish, was a powerfully positive experience and almost entirely painless. Elena Piantino, their doula, was instrumental support, preventing the need for a hospital transfer on two occasions. Though the labor itself was calm, Sarit and Jakob’s son August entered the world to the sound of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine and Sarit roaring “ow, my asshole!”.

Almost two years later, Sarit and Jakob found out they were pregnant again. By this time, they had moved to Bonn, Germany, and the only birth center was booked out by the time Sarit was 7 weeks pregnant. Through a friend, they had the luck of hiring a midwife that could attend both hospital and home births. Though Jakob and Sarit planned a hospital birth, Sarit had a feeling it may be worthwhile to prepare for a home birth. This time, they mostly prepared by rewatching the Know Your Options videos and using them as dialogue prompts, and skimming The Birth Partner book. Sarit also meditated with Hypnobabies and Expectful meditations.

On the day they were meant to induce, Sarit woke up from a nap with a mild, painless contraction. Less than 4 hours later, a very surprised Jakob caught baby Aurelia, using what he remembered from their son’s birth. While waiting for the midwife to arrive, Jakob ran to the bookshelf for The Birth Partner and double checked the unassisted birth checklist. Luckily everyone was healthy and it was another positive and empowering birth.

Sarit Quirin Bio

Sarit lives in Bonn, Germany with her husband Jakob and children August and Aurelia. She feels lucky to have lived in New York City, Buenos Aires, Hamburg, and Geneva after growing up in the Northeast United States. Now she works in next-generation computing and in her free time joyfully makes spreadsheets about everything from social movements to Halloween parties to the birth of her children. She would love to connect via Instagram @saritish or via email at saritquirin (at) gmail.com


Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting parents discover the breastfeeding and postpartum essentials covered by their insurance including breast pumps and maternity compression and postpartum recovery products, they take care of everything – including all paperwork, working with your insurance company, and explaining your options to get these free essentials shipped straight to your door.

Aeroflow offers all major breast pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda, Elvie, Willow and more.

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 we sent you! Bonus — use the promo code “TBH15” in their online shop for 15% off all supplies and accessories.

Hospital Birth & Two Homebirth Birth Stories

For Camilla’s first birth, she went into labor when the Blue Angels were flying over San Francisco. Her son was born 6 hours later, with a rush to the hospital. Initially the hospital staff told her to go home, and within a few hours her son was born. It was unmedicated as she had hoped. Her labor was so fast that she says her hypnobirthing techniques did not help.

For her second birth, Camilla was fearful that she would give birth at home due to her fast labor with her son so at 28 weeks she changed to a midwife as her care provider and planned a homebirth. She describes it as a very different experience with her 2.5 year old son present holding her hand for a lot of the time. Her daughter was born at sunset in the water.

home waterbirth

For her third birth, Camilla prepared for another homebirth and looked forward to having a lot of help with her older kids and enjoying postpartum. Unexpectedly, COVID changed all of that and her kids’ school was closed down right after her baby was born and even her postpartum care was affected because her midwife became flooded with clients and her postpartum doula switched to virtual support.

Camilla Behnke Bio

Camilla lives in the Bay area with her family. She’s been married to her husband for 10 years. They have 3 kiddos, Benjamin, Cecilia, and Oliver.



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. 

Two Unmedicated Hypnobabies Births: Birth Center & Homebirth

Genny had a peaceful birth center birth in January of 2018. After switching care providers twice (once at 26 weeks and again at 37 weeks) she knew the birth center was the right fit. She found a doula who also taught hypnobabies and prenatal yoga. At 8pm the night before birth, contractions started with slight cramping. The midwife and doula said to get sleep and rest as much as possible. At 2:30am, Genny could no longer sleep through the “waves.” Upon arrival at the birth center at 4am, the midwife checked Genny & she was dilated to 7cm! Genny felt at peace and supported throughout the entire process thanks to her husband, doula and midwife. Just before noon and after pushing for 3 hours, baby girl was born into water. The midwife gently unwrapped the cord from her neck and placed her onto her chest. Mom, dad and baby went home 4 hours after baby was born.

For the birth of her second baby, Genny really wanted to give birth at the same birth center her daughter was born. Unfortunately, the birth center closed down 2 months before baby was due. They found a midwifery practice in late June (baby was due in September) because they had just moved back to Jacksonville after being in Pennsylvania on military assignment. Contractions started at 4pm and at 1am (9 hours later) baby boy was born into water in the comfort of her own bedroom. I recall the look on my sister’s face when the doula went in and woke her up to come meet her nephew. My sister was staying the night to care for our toddler and she had her fears for me doing homebirth so it was cool for her to see a healthy happy baby born at home.

genny siemion

Genny Siemion Bio

Genny is a military wife, mother of two, and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator who prepares pregnant women and their partners for birth and parenting. Genny knows that childbirth education truly drives birth satisfaction, partner involvement, and how the mind, body, and spirit need proper preparation for birth and the postpartum period.

Genny has supported evidence-based research on birth long before becoming a mother herself. She became certified through Lamaze International and currently teaches at the local hospital and private classes through Zoom. Genny is featured in Jacksonville Moms Blog, Jacksonville Maternity Directory, and funforfirstcoastkids.org Connect with her on Instagram @gennychildbirthclass.



Peanut is an app that helps you make meaningful connections throughout all stages of motherhood. Peanut provides a safe space for mothers, expectant mothers and those trying to conceive to build friendships, ask questions and find support by introducing you to others nearby who are at a similar stage in life, Peanut provides access to a community who is there to listen, share information and offer valuable advice: Whether it’s understanding IVF, adoption, pregnancy, baby’s first years or beyond, Peanut is a place to connect with other moms in the thick of it.

Download the app for free today!

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


Expectful Meditation App


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.