TTC as a Queer Couple & Homebirth Birth Story

Trying to Conceive as a Queer Couple

Caitlin and her wife had a difficult time navigating the barriers faced by queer couples trying to conceive. After two years and many failed IUIs, they decided to take a different route and try at home inseminations with a known donor. She hoped that removing the stress of the fertility clinic would help her body welcome pregnancy. She was right! And shortly thereafter Caitlin finally got the positive pregnancy test she had been longing for.

Homebirth Birth Story

Caitlin never felt more at home in her body than when she was pregnant. When Caitlin’s water broke in the middle of the night at 37 and a half weeks she instantly forgot everything she spent months learning about labour and birth. Luckily her ever practical wife came to the rescue and encouraged her to go back to bed. Caitlin then spent the next 45 minutes googling “how to tell if your water really broke”. Contractions began shortly after that and by 6:30 a.m. Caitlin and Shona stopped pretending to sleep and got up for the day. After a short early labour things picked up quickly. In her own bed, being held by her wife (the most amazing labour partner), Florence came flying into the world. The trio has been flying high on the most amazing love ever since.

lesbian moms birth story

Caitlin Thompson Bio

Caitlin lives in Canada in a lovely small town called Uxbridge. She works for a large bank in Leadership Development but her new job as a parent has taken much higher priority. She is married to the love of her life and best friend Shona. Together they are explorers and adventurers! They enjoy visiting craft breweries, going to music festivals, hiking with their two rescue dogs, playing hockey, and binge watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Most recently, Caitlin and Shona became mamas to their amazing daughter, Florence. Caitlin didn’t know just how magical, raw, challenging and beautiful bringing a child into the world could be. She cares deeply about social justice and is an unapologetic feminist. It is her hope that she can play a part in creating a more caring and compassionate world. Connect with her on IG @cait.rainford

Resources

Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth
Mama Natural: Week to Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, Genevieve Howland
The Birth Hour

Expectful

Expectful is the #1 guided meditation 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 that can help you conceive and have a happier, healthier pregnancy and baby. Their guided tracks – which were made specifically for hopeful, pregnant, and new moms – help you reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one. You can go to expectful.com/birthhour to get a special offer: an extended 14-day free trial of Expectful.

Preeclampsia, HELLP & NICU Stay

Preeclampsia & HELLP Syndrome at 28 Weeks Birth Story

Danielle’s birth is not what she expected. Danielle knew she would have a c-section because of a trauma to her hip in the past but she did not expect it to be at 29 weeks. Danielle went in for her 28 week check up only to find her blood pressure dangerously high and traces of protein in her urine. Upon being admitted to the hospital it became increasingly hard to control her blood pressure.

Along with preeclampsia, Danielle was developing HELLP syndrome, causing her platelets to plummet and her alt levels to rise. Eventually it became too dangerous for Danielle to remain pregnant. At 8am on 10/24 the doctor decided it was time to have a baby. Danielle was wheeled into the OR with tears in her eyes. She feared it was too early for her baby.

preeclampsia HELLP birth story

66 Day NICU Stay

Sean William was born at 8:35am weighing 3 pounds exactly and 15 3/4 inches. Danielle saw Sean briefly before he was brought to the NICU. That would be the last time she saw him until the next day. Danielle spent every day in that NICU even though it was the hardest place to be. Sean is a strong boy. He spent 66 days in the NICU and is now a sturdy 14 pound boy.

Danielle Foster Bio

NICU baby

Danielle lives in Hanson, Massachusetts and works as a quality assurance coordinator for an insurance tracking company. Danielle and Brian have known each other since high school but never spoke in high school. The magic of the Bruins playoffs in 2011 brought them together and it’s been love ever since. Danielle and Brian began their journey to start a family in October 2016 and she finally got her big fat positive in April of 2018. Connect with her on Facebook.

Resources

Nicu moms Facebook
Ava Communities on Facebook

Avawomen

This episode is sponsored by Ava Women. Wear the Ava bracelet while you sleep for effortless insight about your fertility, your cycle, and your health. Ava monitors nine physiological parameters and is clinically proven to detect the beginning of the fertile window in real time. You can use the promo code: BIRTHSTORIES for $20 off each order at avawomen.com

Placenta Previa and Accreta Diagnosis Birth Story

Fertility Journey, Placenta Previa/Accreta Diagnosis and NICU Stay

Kathleen spent 2 years in pursuit of conception, hitting a few roadblocks along the way, including an auto-immune thyroid disease diagnosis and the death of her mom, which took a toll on her mentally and emotionally as she grieved. After year 1 of casually trying without success, Kathleen decided to take a more serious approach and worked in a group with fertility coach Lisa Hendrickson-Jack of the Fertility Friday Podcast. Lisa guided a small group of women for a 10 week session on learning the Fertility Awareness Method of cycle tracking. This method can be used for conception or pregnancy avoidance, and it enabled Kathleen to pinpoint the best days for conception based on several key signs she had not previously been able to recognize with confidence. She also learned ways to support her thyroid, which seemed to improve her cycle.

When Kathleen became pregnant naturally in January of 2018, she and her husband were elated. Besides the standard sickness and cramping of early pregnancy, everything was going smoothly up until midway through the 2nd trimester. Around week 13, her doctor observed the placenta was low-lying over the cervix. At her 20 week anatomy scan, everything with the baby looked wonderful except the placenta was still in the way and had not budged. At this point, Kathleen was diagnosed with complete posterior placenta previa; but, there was still the hope of it moving because it was diagnosed so early. This condition comes with a high risk of hemorrhage so the doctor advised Kathleen to limit her activity considerably.

Kathleen joined a facebook group for previa and began learning all she could. Through this group, she also discovered that women with previa are at a higher risk for another, even more dangerous condition called placenta accreta. Somewhere in the back of her mind, fears of accreta began to eat away. Kathleen started experiencing frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, pressure, and cramping. Around week 24 she had regular contractions for 48 hrs and decided to visit L&D at her area hospital. The residents observed her contractions and immediately performed an internal ultrasound, and discovered something was “wrong with her cervix”. Although it was closed, it appeared distorted. They chose to observe Kathleen overnight and she was ultimately discharged with a diagnosis of irritable uterus + polyhydramnios, and a follow up ultrasound was scheduled to look further into previa/cervical complications.

After an emotional visit and an MRI, it was determined Kathleen indeed had an accreta where the placenta was growing into her cervix. She and her husband were devastated, as this would mean their first baby would need to be delivered at least a month early via c-section and she would require a hysterectomy at delivery. Her case was taken over by the MFM department of Yale New Haven hospital—the same team of doctors she saw at week 24. Even with the accreta diagnosis, these doctors hoped for the best. Thankfully, Kathleen avoided a major bleed that typically occurs in complete previa pregnancies, the polyhydramnios and irritable uterus resolved, and she was able to deliver on her scheduled date at 36 + 0 weeks. Her son was delivered successfully, and it was discovered that she did not have an accreta. The placenta was removed without issue. What Kathleen did actually have was an even more rare condition called cervical AVM, or arterio vascular malformation of the cervix. Her doctors printed her a case study which claimed to be the only known case. The cause is unknown. Unfortunately, Kathleen’s son suffered complications from being born pre-term and spent 12 days in the NICU overcoming respiratory issues. After 6 months postpartum, both mom and baby are doing well and enjoying the semi-calm after the storm.

Kathleen Harrington Bio

Kathleen is 33 years old and lives in Connecticut with her husband, Dennis, their 6 month old son, Cassian Robin, and 2 rambunctious rescue hounds Edie and Juno. Kathleen has a film degree and spent some time post-college working in TV production as a personal assistant; but, she has since branched out into other fields, including most recently, biotechnology. After learning she had hashimoto’s thyroiditis during her 2 year conception journey, Kathleen dove into the deep well of fertility knowledge the internet has to offer and began to learn ways to support her body from a functional medicine perspective. She truly enjoys connecting with other women and sharing what knowledge she has gleaned from her personal experience. Connect with her on instagram @kateye85

Resources

Fertility Friday | Fertility Awareness Method Cycle Charting 
Placenta Previa & Accreta Support Group
Hope for Accreta Foundation- Placenta Accreta, Increta and Percreta
The Birth Hour
Pregnancy Podcast
Fertility Friday Podcast

Long Prodromal Labor then Only 5 Minutes of Pushing

Long Prodromal Labor then Only 5 Minutes of Pushing

Chelsea was thrilled to conceive her son using the Ava Bracelet and talks about how helpful it was for her. After two weeks(!) of intense back-to-back contractions, Chelsea was induced at 37 weeks. Her son’s heart rate started dropping during really strong contractions, and the doctors didn’t feel comfortable sending Chelsea home. Her water was broken at around 10 AM on 3/21/18 and at 2:44 PM, after only 5 minutes of pushing, Micah was born.

Chelsea Johnson Bio

Chelsea is a 31 year old first time mom, wife and #girlboss. She owns a Campaign Disclosure firm (CJ & Associates, Inc.) in Roseville, CA. Her and her husband, Jason, had been trying to have a baby for 3 years before they were blessed with Micah. The three of them currently live in Antelope, CA with their two dogs, Kona and Dozer.

37 weeks induction

Resources

Ava Bracelet for Tracking Fertility and the Ava Facebook groups
The Healthy Pregnancy Book
The Baby Book

Ava Women

This episode is sponsored by Ava Women. Wear the Ava bracelet while you sleep for effortless insight about your fertility, your cycle, and your health. Ava monitors nine physiological parameters and is clinically proven to detect the beginning of the fertile window in real time. You can use the promo code: BIRTHSTORIES for $20 off each order at avawomen.com.

Type 1 Diabetic, Planned Cesarean and Conceiving with Ava Bracelet

Type 1 Diabetic, Planned Cesarean and Conceiving with the Ava Bracelet

Tara went into childbirth knowing that she would have a cesarean delivery. As a Type 1 Diabetic, the expected birth weight of her daughter had reached 8 pounds by her 36th week of pregnancy, and shoulder dystocia had already complicated her first delivery. She and her husband, Adam, were informed on May 29th that her delivery had been scheduled… for the very next morning! Lowering blood sugar levels were pointing to possible problems with her placenta, and baby looked good, so all doctors involved agreed that the wait was over!

They arrived at Cartersville Medical Center and preparations began for surgery. Tara was lucky enough to have both her husband and Mama with her in the operating room. Aside from a little trouble with anesthesia, the procedure was very routine… until it was almost over. Baby Selene had been delivered, her cord had been cut by Adam, and her breathing was being monitored when Tara heard a crash from the corner. Her Mama peeked around the drape to tell her, “Adam passed out!!!” While Adam woke up, and was wheeled out of the delivery room, the nurses gave Selene to Tara’s Mama, and Tara saw her for the first time. Selene weighed 9 pounds, 13 ounces, and had a head full of black hair, just like her woozy Daddy!

avawomen bracelet story

Tara Lee Perez Bio

Tara is 34 years old and from Cartersville, GA. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, where she studied Writing & Lingusitics, and she is currently a Substitute Teacher for the Cartersville City School System. She has been married to her husband, Adam, since June of 2016. Tara has a 9-year old step-daughter, Mischa, a 4-year old niece that she thinks of as her own, Lyla Beth, and a 3-month miracle baby, Selene. Tara had a very tough journey to motherhood, and is fully enjoying every moment of watching her new baby girl grow. Facebook.com/taraleeabby

Ava Women

This episode is sponsored by Ava Women. Wear the Ava bracelet while you sleep for effortless insight about your fertility, your cycle, and your health. Ava monitors nine physiological parameters and is clinically proven to detect the beginning of the fertile window in real time. You can use the promo code: BIRTHSTORIES for $20 off each order at avawomen.com.

IUI Fertility Treatment Resulting in Triplets Pregnant & Birth Story

IUI Fertility Treatment & Surprise Triplets

Although Jody and Jeremy went through fertility treatment (IUI – intrauterine insemination,) they were told their chances of the procedure’s success was less than 20% due to small follicle size. Along with their physician, they decided to proceed anyways. After positive pregnancy tests and blood tests, it was confirmed the procedure was a success!

Jody experienced a significant amount of bleeding. After about 8 weeks, she and her husband went in for an early ultrasound to see if there was a reason for the bleeding. The doctor confirmed that triplets were the reason. Jody had a fairly insignificant pregnancy by triplet standards. No official bed rest or major medical issues.

triplets ultrasound

Premature Labor and Eclampsia

At 32 weeks and 6 days, Jody went into labor. Medication helped stop the contractions, and 48 hours of steroids helped develop the lungs of the babies. Jody’s high blood pressure kept her in the antenatal unit of the hospital. Once her blood pressure was under control, she was set to go home. Listening to her gut feeling, she asked for one more night to be monitored.

That evening Jody went into labor and full eclampsia. Luckily she was right where she needed to be. An emergency cesarean section was performed and Jody and Jeremy welcomed three beautiful babies to their family (33weeks 4days gestation).

NICU Stay with Triplets

The NICU stay proved to be a challenge, with emotional and physical (for the babies) tribulations. The newborns needed to have 5 days in a row without a cardiac or oxygen related ‘event’. After 22 days of ups and downs the Wilson family was together once again.

Breastfeeding Triplets and Postpartum Depression

Exclusively pumping/breast feeding for triplets would prove to be a full time job in itself for Jody. The children had to have the breast milk supplemented to a higher caloric value to help with growth. Trying to find any type of balance in their home life was a struggle. Jody struggled with postpartum depression and sought medical help after trying to deal with it alone. Jody never really had a birth plan in mind prior to finding out she was pregnant—in the end the triplets made the plan for her.

triplets grown up

Jody Wilson Bio

Jody is 36 years old and lives in Washington state with her husband, Jeremy, their goldendoodle, Opie(5), and their triplets: Audrey(4), Oliver(4), and Everett(4). Jeremy works from home part time and travels part time. Jody stays at home with the children and also works as a substitute group fitness instructor. Now that the kids have started preschool, Jody is looking forward to finishing the baby books and a few other projects that have taken a back seat. If you have any questions or just need a fellow triplet-mom to lend a listening ear, feel free to connect with her on Facebook, email or Instagram. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram or via email at jkrunsforfun@gmail.com.

CollegeBacker

This episode is sponsored by CollegeBacker. CollegeBacker is the easiest way to save for college with help from family & friends. In just 5 minutes, you can open a tax-advantaged 529 Plan, and then invite family & friends to contribute – even before your child is born!

Sign up at CollegeBacker.com/TheBirthHour and receive a $10 match when you start saving for your child, or when you send a gift to kickoff someone else’s college fund.