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!
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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!
After being diagnosed with PCOS in 2019 and trying to conceive for over a year, Makayla and her husband took the next step by meeting with fertility specialists in January 2020. After the pandemic hit and they overcame some obstacles, they finally began the process in September 2020. Much to their surprise, they found out they were pregnant after their third IUI in November.
Makayla braced herself to navigate pregnancy as a plus-sized woman and prepared to be an advocate for what she wanted. She was greeted with a mixture of many supportive providers and a few that made her feel a lot of negative emotions. There were several small obstacles she faced, but overall she enjoyed her pregnancy. Due to anxiety surrounding the baby’s position and feeling a need for some control, Makayla elected to be induced at 39 weeks. After a long and intense labor that didn’t go as planned, Bronx arrived on July 22, 2021.
Connect with Makayla via email firstname.lastname@example.org, on Instagram @makaylafield_, or on Facebook.
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After over one year of trying to get pregnant, Chloe Melas got the three words she had been praying for: You are pregnant! The journey was not an easy one. Chloe underwent IVF after several failed rounds of fertility treatments. She was diagnosed with low ovarian egg reserve and her husband, low sperm count. But it was well worth the wait and Chloe went on to have a healthy and uneventful pregnancy. Unless you count the nights being awake due to heartburn — the worst! Her son Leo, who is now 4, decided to grace the world with an earlier-than-expected debut and mommy couldn’t sit after delivery without a doughnut pillow.
When Chloe’s first son, Leo, was one year old, they decided to embark on their fertility journey once more to try and give him a sibling. Brian and Chloe went straight to IVF since it worked with Leo a few years prior. Luckily, it worked again and the couple ended up giving birth almost exactly two years to the day after Leo was born. The boys are now two days apart born on Fourth of July weekend. Another uneventful pregnancy but yet another early debut. Hear Chloe as she talks about being sent home from the hospital when she went into labor and the joys of her epidural not working as expected. She also opens up about the postpartum depression she experienced for several months after birth.
Chloe Melas Bio
Chloe is an entertainment reporter for CNN covering all things Hollywood for the network across all platforms. She and her husband, Brian, are also the proud parents to two boys and they currently reside in Westchester, New York. They have both been vocal about their journey to start a family, undergoing IVF for each of their pregnancies. Chloe is now an outspoken advocate when it comes to destigmatizing infertility and was last year’s recipient of Resolve’s Hope Award for Advocacy. Connect with her on IG @chloemelas.
Seven Starling is a new kind of digital membership that guides you through pregnancy and postpartum with expert-led small groups. Get paired with an expert Doula and a handpicked small group of 5-10 people with a similar due date and goals. From childbirth education, to newborn care, to postpartum recovery, learn it all with your group. Ditch the hours of Googling and message your Doula anytime for support.Head to www.sevenstarling.com to get your personalized program. Use code BIRTHHOUR to get 15% off a membership. 💫