TTC, Hospital Induction Laboring with & without Epidural

Getting Pregnant and Planning Hospital Birth

After 2.5 years of trying as well as a miscarriage in 2018, Susanna and Will found out they were pregnant with their rainbow baby in February 2019. They learned halfway through the pregnancy that Susanna would be induced due to high blood pressure. She went in at 39 weeks to be induced, hoping to avoid pain medications.

Things moved quite slowly and Susanna experienced very intense back labor due to her daughter being sunny side up. Thankfully, her mom and husband were both there to help support her through labor. They were invaluable! She spent a lot of time on the yoga ball and in the shower to help manage the pain.  After about 24 hours of labor, her water broke and she was ready to ask for an epidural. Thankfully after a successful epidural her body was able to relax and fully dilate over the next 8 hours.

The baby turned over into a normal birthing position and after pushing for less than an hour, Will and Susanna welcomed their beautiful daughter Dahlia into the world. Following the birth, Dahlia had moderate jaundice which was carefully monitored each day with bloodwork. Within a week that cleared up and she is a healthy happy baby!

Susanna Birdwell Bio

Will and Susanna live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with their daughter Dahlia who is almost 7 months old. Susanna is a 5th grade teacher and Will is a paramedic who is also currently in firefighter school. Susanna is passionate about education, essential oils,toxin free living, and holistic health. Will enjoys music, strategy games, and shooting sports. They love spending time with friends and family, trying local restaurants, and cooking. Connect with her on Instagram @myketoteacherlife or via email at susanna.birdwell@gmail.com.

Resources

Crate & Kids

Today’s episode was sponsored by Crate and Kids. Crate and Kids is all about empowering the self-expression of families through environments that spark creativity and encourage individuality. Their versatile collection celebrates each new stage and helps you design a nursery that’s an extension of your own personal style.

Use code TheBirthHour at checkout to receive 10% off your full-price purchase of Kids furniture and more at crateandkids.com. It’s valid online only, and some exclusions apply, so see their website for details.

Infertility, Using an Egg Donor, & Hospital Birth Story

Kimberly and Matthew began dating when they were 38 and 40 years old. About a year later they committed to each other and planned to have a family. After nine months of trying to conceive, and with a diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve, they proceeded with their first unsuccessful fertility treatment: intrauterine insemination (IUI). When Kim was 40 years old, they underwent three rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) consisting of three egg retrievals followed by four embryo transfers, with a total of 10 embryos.  Three embryo transfers resulted in negative pregnancy tests, and one in a chemical pregnancy, which terminated around 6 weeks gestation. Despite the heartbreak, Kim and Matt were inspired by a friend’s experience with egg donation. About two months after their last unsuccessful embryo transfer, Kim was pregnant with Matt’s baby, using a frozen donor egg. Every parameter of this pregnancy was strong and healthy! 

Jacob was born at 40 weeks 2 days gestation, when Kim was 42 years old. They hoped to have an unmedicated birth in a hospital, assisted by their doula, Melissa. Labor started around 11 pm on Friday night, and Kim was 8 cm dilated by 8 am Saturday morning. However, her progress plateaued and at 5:30 pm Saturday evening, she was still only 9 cm dilated, and Jacob was in a posterior position. Kim’s contractions were coming fast, she was tired, and requested an epidural. Once the epidural was placed around 6 pm, they all rested, and Melissa positioned Kim on a peanut ball to help turn the baby and labor down. At 11 pm Kim started pushing and Jacob was born at 11:52 pm Saturday night.

Now Jacob is a happy, healthy and talkative seven-month old! Kim and Matt will forever be grateful to their egg donor, doctors, doulas, and support from family and friends to make their journey to parenthood possible. Kim, Matt and Jacob live in Atlanta, GA. Connect with Kim on Instagram @kemw28.

Resources

  • Support group: Parents Via Egg Donation (pved.org)
  • Book: Let’s Talk About Egg Donation, Marna Gatlin and Carole LieberWilkins
  • Doulas: TheAtlantaDoula.com
  • Podcasts: Beat Infertility, Heather Huhman; Birth Kweens, Karly Nuttall and Ali Feroah; Living Childfree with Erik and Melissa
  • IVFMEDS.com

Babylist

The people at Babylist believe that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry lets you add any item from any store. Even add cool services and favors like prenatal yoga, doula support, home-cooked meals or dog walking. Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth up to $190 while boxes last.

TTC as a Queer Couple & Homebirth Birth Story

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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

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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: BIRTH for $20 off each order at avawomen.com

Placenta Previa and Accreta Diagnosis Birth Story

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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

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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: BIRTH for $20 off each order at avawomen.com.