Despite a beautiful, complication free pregnancy, Megan’s path to motherhood was not easy. After years of struggling to conceive, several fibroid removal surgeries, a difficult new role at work and the loss of her father during her first trimester, it felt as if she was stuck in knee-deep mud not knowing whether to grieve or allow herself to be happy.
Before long, at 41 weeks, she arrived at the hospital for her scheduled induction. After a great response to the Foley balloon, labor was in full swing. Despite the immense pain over the course of 15 hours, Megan felt like she was finally able to release the anguish that had accumulated over the past 9 months and finally, her son Sterling Dagger was born in a dimly lit room surrounded by his father and grandmother.
Megan’s postpartum wasn’t without stress and unfortunately, because of incorrect information regarding her LOA benefits, her maternity leave was cut from 16 weeks to 12 weeks. Returning to work was difficult for her and her husband, and ultimately, it was decided that she would leave her full-time job and pursue part-time work to once again be the primary caregiver of their son. Watching her son grow and explore the world around him felt like the best decision for her emotionally and her family.
Megan Spar Bio
Megan is a 38 yr old creative millennial who, after graduating college, landed in the world of visual merchandising. She enjoys making things with her hands, listening to birth and tech podcasts and spending time with family. She met the love of her life, Brian, right after high school and after 10 years together they got married in Newport, RI on a cliff overlooking the water surrounded by a small group of friends and family. Now almost 20 years later they are raising their first child, Sterling Dagger and looking forward to this new adventure they’re on called parenthood. Connect with her on IG @everythingafteryou.
This 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 and new Evolve 3-in-1 Bouncer that we discussed on the podcast!
Kat tried to conceive for a year using IUIs from a known sperm donor (her wife Emily’s brother). When that didn’t work, Kat sought fertility treatment and she was diagnosed with PCOS; because her PCOS had gone undiagnosed her whole life and she had never been on birth control, the unopposed estrogen from anovulatory cycles had caused endometrial cancer (stage 1, grade 1). Using fertility sparing treatment (a Mirena IUD and oral progesterone), Kat was free of cancer within 6 months and able to try IVF, which they were able to access because they had moved to MA. After two miscarriages and four years of trying, Kat was pregnant with her daughter Alice. That pregnancy, Kat experienced a long-lasting subchorionic hematoma and her daughter had a marginal cord insertion, and she was induced at 41 weeks. Kat got chorioamnionitis during the long birth, and the antibiotic treatment led to both her and her daughter having thrush. With her second pregnancy with her son Sam, Kat had another subchorionic hematoma. That birth led to an induction due to what ended up being a gallstone attack, a postpartum hemorrhage and blood transfusion, and a postpartum period affected by Covid. Her partner Emily is currently pregnant with their third and final baby, via reciprocal IVF.
Kat Fabel Bio
Kat and Emily live in Florence MA with their 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son, and they are due with their third child in August 2023. Connect with Kat via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook groups for queer couples trying to conceive, as well as facebook groups for trying to conceive after endometrial cancer
If you have PCOS or irregular cycles, and especially if you have never been on birth control, please consider getting screened for endometrial cancer
If you’re having trouble conceiving, very much recommend seeing a reproductive endocrinologist sooner rather than later, it would have saved us a lot of time, money, and pain
If you’re doing IVF or fertility treatments after cancer, Boston IVF was amazing and has reproductive endocrinologists specifically trained in fertility treatments after cancer
RESOLVE is a national organization that keeps a really helpful list of IVF insurance coverage by state, including how they define infertility (especially relevant for same sex couples). If you’re calling your insurance company to ask questions about the kind of fertility coverage they offer, ask to speak to the fertility nurse or fertility specialist rather than whoever answers the phone because it can be complicated
Joining a postpartum group (our hospital runs one for new parents) was a wonderful way to meet other new parents and talk through sleep/eating/other issues
Lactation consultants saved my breastfeeding journey – our pediatrician had one on site, check if yours does too!
Hearing alllll the birth stories (Obsessed with The Birth Hour; I also liked Australian Birth Stories)
Today’s episode is sponsored by Needed. Needed is the leading women’s health supplement brand recommended by nutritionally-trained practitioners. While most perinatal supplements include the bare minimum of the nutrients needed during pregnancy, Needed’s products are based on the latest clinical research and in-practice experience of nearly 4000 practitioners. Needed has all your needs covered, from your prenatal vitamin to pregnancy-specific Pre/ and Probiotics, to egg quality support, sleep, stress, immune and hydration support, as well as your protein needs for blood sugar balance and postpartum healing. Needed’s Complete Plan delivers unparalleled nourishment for every phase — whether you’re trying to conceive, pregnant, or postpartum! Instead of having to pair 6 different products together to meet your needs, I love that Needed has simplified things by bundling together four core products you need, in an easy and flexible monthly plan. Save 20% off your first order of Needed’s Complete Plan or any of their other perinatal nutrition products at thisisneeded.com with code BIRTHHOUR.
After Liz and her husband Eric experienced a miscarriage in Fall 2018, they thought a few adjustments like addressing slight hypothyroidism would mean another pregnancy within months. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and they ended up undergoing fertility treatment during 2020 and early 2021. Following a failed IVF embryo transfer in February 2021, they conceived their baby girl naturally while waiting for their next embryo transfer.
Liz sought care during her pregnancy from a group of midwives associated with a large hospital in Chicago. Because of a neuromuscular disease Liz was diagnosed with as a child (Charcot Marie Tooth), Liz also saw a neurologist and Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, to ensure she and Eric were fully aware of possible complications associated with CMT (those included possible fetal growth restriction, malpresentation, postpartum hemorrhaging, and need for assisted delivery using forceps or vacuum). During pregnancy, Liz aimed to do all she could to prepare her mind and body for birth, including visits with a Webster-certified chiropractor, pelvic floor physical therapist, acupuncturist, and a therapist focusing on pregnancy and early motherhood. Liz also stayed active, keeping up with regular workouts through her 38th week of pregnancy.
Liz went into labor during the late evening two days before her due date. After laboring all night at home and having contractions 3-4 minutes apart for a couple hours, she, Eric, and their doula Becca headed to the hospital the following morning. Liz was very discouraged to find out she had only dilated to three centimeters, after being at two centimeters at her midwife appointment earlier that week. Because of elevated blood pressure and the midwife’s request to do some labs to check for preeclampsia, Liz was admitted to the hospital. Upon admission, they also determined via manual exam and a quick ultrasound that baby was sunnyside up.
Liz labored into the afternoon with the support of Eric and Becca, but only progressed to four centimeters during that time. She worked with her midwife and team to decide that interventions would be helpful to allow for some rest and progress for her body. An epidural was placed and Pitocin was administered an hour later. After an additional cervical check showed Liz was still at four centimeters dilated, her midwife suggested breaking her waters. That did the trick and between 6 and 9 p.m., Liz’s cervix dilated from four to ten centimeters and baby turned to an ideal position for pushing!
Pushing was Liz’s favorite part of labor, supported by her amazing team, with Eric holding one leg and their doula Becca holding the other. After just 45 minutes of pushing, their baby was born, healthy but quite calm and quiet. After a couple minutes, baby’s cord was cut by daddy and they realized no one had checked the baby’s sex. Liz was convinced throughout pregnancy it was a boy, so it was a complete surprise when Eric announced it was a baby girl! The team spent a few minutes clearing her airways and checking her vitals before Liz and Eric enjoyed a magical golden hour with baby Emmeline Mae.
Liz and Emmeline’s postpartum journey so far has included significant sacroiliac joint pain and treatment for Liz and a milk protein intolerance for Emmeline. Liz is extremely grateful for a long period of parental leave, by US standards, and is looking forward to springtime adventures at home with Emmeline!
Liz Parker Bio
Liz Parker and her husband Eric live in Chicago with their first baby Bug the Pug and their newest addition, Emmeline Mae, who arrived in December 2021. Liz and Eric both work for a large accounting and consulting firm, where they met while recruiting at their shared alma mater. They love exploring different neighborhoods, parks, and restaurants in their city, and traveling to new places together. They can’t wait to take Emmeline on future adventures, especially to visit family and friends all over the US! Connect with her on Instagram at @lizzyleigh17 or on Facebook under Liz Byrum Parker.
Chicago area – Chicago Family Picnic for childbirth, breastfeeding, and bringing home baby courses, mom & baby group, doula services
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!
Amy Porter describes her fertility and pregnancy journey with her second child as “a delicate balance of luck and chaos.” From the accidental thawing of their donor sperm units before her IUI treatment to the routine ultrasound that discovered their son’s fatal heart defect amidst the global pandemic, Amy’s second journey to parenthood definitely was not what she and her wife imagined it would be.
With the help of a team of medical professionals, the Porter family was able to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for the birth of a critically ill newborn who would require open-heart surgery within his first few days of life to survive. Listen and learn about just how common of a birth experience this is and what parents can do at their 20-week anatomy scan to advocate for the heart health of their children.
Amy Porter Bio
Amy Porter is an educator, receiving Bachelor’s degrees in Education and Music. Amy is a passionate Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) advocate and public speaker. Conventionally unconventional, she and her wife built their own family and are mothers to two young children.
Amy is a self-proclaimed “research nerd.” Her curiosity about the world, her passion for knowledge, and the lived experience of her son’s critical heart defect diagnosis have led her to educate sonographers and parents about the importance of early detection. More information and resources can be found on her website www.1in100.org and her son’s medical journey can be viewed on her Instagram @amye_porter. You can also email her at email@example.com.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com. Gisselle is also an active member of The Birth Hour Patreon group!
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
Facebook groups for infertility and twins
Asking about a therapist and psychiatrist
Local Twins club
Other twin moms
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!