Same-Sex Couple in China Returns to U.S. During COVID for Birth

Elizabeth and her wife Kelli found out they were pregnant in the summer of 2019 after their second IUI. Elizabeth had a great pregnancy and continued teaching, practicing yoga, and traveling throughout. She sought all prenatal care at an international hospital in Beijing. Elizabeth and Kelli made arrangements to come home to Michigan in the spring to give birth to their baby, to avoid any legal issues that might come up in China as same-sex parents.

In January, due to the COVID19 outbreak in China, their school decided to transition to online teaching. With that decision, Elizabeth and Kelli moved their flights sooner and arrived in Michigan at the end of January. They rented a long-term AirBnB so that they would have their own space when baby came, and continued to excitedly await baby’s arrival while enjoying the extra time catching up with friends and family back home.

Their plan, and Elizabeth’s dream, was to have an all-natural, vaginal delivery at the same hospital where Kelli was born. They were feeling positive with all the preparations they had made.  The due date came and went without any sign of labor and no dilation, even though baby seemed good and “ready”.  A few days later, Elizabeth started experiencing contractions and decided to track them on a contraction tracker app.  Twice throughout the day the app told her she was in active labor and that she should head to the hospital. Elizabeth thought it was too soon so they waited a while longer. They finally headed to the hospital later that evening and were admitted. While her contractions were strong and regular, she was not dilating at all. The next morning, after nearly 12 hours of laboring with Pitocin and no pain medication, Elizabeth requested an epidural.  Contractions continued strong and steady, but Elizabeth was still not dilating as she should have and there were now concerns about the baby’s heart rate. Throughout the day, her OB and the nurses decided to try a variety of interventions such as sweeping the membranes, manually breaking her water, assisting her into a variety of different positions, but nothing seemed to help.

expats in china birth story

After a full 24 hours in hospital, Elizabeth and Kelli discussed a c-section with their OB and decided to do it. It was the furthest thing from their birth plan but it seemed nothing else was helping and there were now some growing concerns for both the baby and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had never even had surgery before, so the c-section experience wasn’t great. But their beautiful daughter, Frankie Adeline, was finally born at 9:23pm on March 23.

The postpartum period was both amazing and challenging.  It’s hard to have a newborn during a pandemic; breastfeeding proved to be trying; Elizabeth was diagnosed with postpartum depression. With the help of a lactation consultant, seeing a therapist, returning to yoga, and the support of her wife, Elizabeth has been able to bond with her daughter, is enjoying being a new mom, and is on the path to healing.

Elizabeth Tucker Bio

Elizabeth and her wife Kelli are international teachers who met in Kuwait and are currently teaching in Beijing, China. They are new moms to Frankie, born in March on the first day of Michigan’s Covid-19 lockdown. Elizabeth loves yoga, reading, and all things organizing. Kelli is an avid runner who has a new-found love for triathlons and completed a full IronMan in Taiwan. Elizabeth can be found on Instagram @liztheeuro and Kelli blogs about their experiences at https://kelliacochran.wixsite.com

Resources 

  • The Birth Hour
  • Taking Cara Babies
  • Holliday Tyson on YouTube
  • @drcassidy (instagram)
  • @expectingandempowered (instagram)

Aeroflow Breastpumps

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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 I sent you!  

Giving Birth in India + Postpartum Care

To listen to this episode, and more than 350 other birth stories in The Birth Hour archives, join our listener supporter group here!

Sofia Abdul Ali shares her experience with the maternity health care system in India as well as her dissatisfaction with her birth experiences and finally the amazing postpartum care she received from family. Sofia didn’t have any pictures she wanted to share and prefers to communicate with listeners via the comments on this page.

Sakura Bloom

This episode is sponsored by Sakura Bloom. Baby carriers crafted in California with the softest hand-dyed linens, hand-loomed silks, coziest bamboo & cashmere. Sakura Bloom covers you from the newborn days through toddlerhood with three unique carrier styles – The Ring Sling, The Onbuhimo and The Scout. Sakura Bloom believes in keeping waste to a minimum and attention to detail high, which means crafting in small batches in their coastal San Diego workshop. Learn more via their customer Facebook Group or on Instagram.

sakura bloom scout

Two Birth Stories in Paris, France

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Giving Birth in Paris France

Gaela delivered both of her babies in Paris, France. For her first birth, Gaela took HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method classes, which got her incredibly excited to give birth. She labored at home and kept waiting for the pain to arrive and it never did. Her daughter was born 47 minutes after arriving at the maternity in a birth tub with hardly any water in it! Gaela became a HypnoBirthing instructor after her daughter’s birth. She gave birth to her son 23 months later in a birth center. She was able to deploy all of the techniques that she teaches in order to stay focused and have a peaceful birth. She was able to “breathe” her baby down and have him auto-latch during the sacred hour. She had two distinct yet wildly empowering childbirth experiences.

Gaela Bio

Gaela is a French, Mexican, American from San Diego, CA and currently residing in Philadelphia, PA. She lived in Paris, France for almost 10 years where she met her husband and had her two children. Gaela was so inspired by the birth of her first baby, she became a HypnoBirthing® Instructor, the Mongan Method. She empowers not only mothers but also fathers/birthing partners in their pivotal role in the experience by providing them with concrete tools to have an enjoyable childbirth experience and ultimately gets parents excited for the biggest collaboration they will share with their child—his/her arrival in the world! Social media: @1gaelita on instagram, Gaela Fernandez on facebook or at www.luzcommunity.com.

Resources

Unicist homeopathy medicine
Magnesium supplement
HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method
Osteopathic Medicine
Magical or Sacred Hour Postpartum
The Baby Catcher
Happy kids, Healthy Kids

March of Dimes

Today’s episode is sponsored by March of Dimes. March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. They support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. March of Dimes is partnering with the CDC to generate awareness among women of childbearing age, families, and health care providers about things they can do to help prevent birth defects. At the end of this episode I spoke to mom, rare disease warrior and March of Dimes Gretchen Carlson Advocacy Fellow, Sarah Wilkerson, about the 5 main tips from March of Dimes and the CDC to help you be a healthy mom and have a strong baby. You can also find out more at marchofdimes.org/TheBirthHour.

Peaceful Epidural Birth & Surrogacy for Two Dads

To listen to this episode, and more than 300 other birth stories in The Birth Hour archives, join our listener supporter group here!

Peaceful Epidural Birth, Difficult 2nd Birth & Redemptive Surrogate Birth

Nicole’s first birth was a positive, peaceful experience. She gave birth in a hospital with an OB she trusted, and felt that having an epidural helped her to relax and be present as she brought her daughter into the world.

Nicole’s second birth was only 16 months after the first. Her plan going into the birth was to do things about the same as the first time… which ended up with a-less-than-magical birth experience. Nicole was in love with her son, but also knew that she hoped she could get a chance to have a different kind of birth experience.

Nicole decided to be a gestational surrogate, and carried twins for two international dads. She was able advocate for herself and to have the unmedicated twin birth she hoped for at the hospital where she works, and had a great birth and surrogacy experience.

Nicole Gricius Bio

Nicole is a happy working mom who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband, two children ages 3 and 4, two dogs, a cat, and three chickens. She works in Inpatient Behavioral Health and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She loves running, skiing, hiking, and spending time with her family. Connect with her on instagram: @nikkigricius.

Resources

Kelly Mom
Site to find a therapist if needed. Also, call your health insurance to inquire about coverage
The surrogacy agency I used—The most important thing is to find a good fit for you.

Giving Birth in Germany

To listen to this episode, and more than 300 other birth stories in The Birth Hour archives, join our listener supporter group here!

Hospital Birth in Germany

Ana gave birth like a champ in a hospital in Germany after being assured that it was baby-friendly. That didn’t end up being her experience and although everything ended up ok, she shares how it felt to be treated in a way that wasn’t respectful of her wishes.

Ana Maria Guardia Bio

Ana is a graphic designer and a yoga teacher. She lives in Germany with her husband Ralph and 21 month old Anton. She’s originally from Panama, a country that made it to the World Cup for the first time this year. Connect with her on Twitter @anagrama, Facebook, Instagram and check out her writing on Elephant Journal.

Resources

One Bad Mother podcast for honest talk, laughs and judgment-free motivation. And their book: You’re Doing a Great Job!: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting
La Leche League local groups and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book.
The mantra: «Divine mother flows through me»

Earth Mama Organics

From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mamamakes effective organic and natural herbal products for the whole journey of motherhood: pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, and baby care. They’ve been safely nurturing mamas this way since 2002 — and they wouldn’t do it any other way. Be sure to check out some of their latest products like the organic deodorant (that really works!) that Megan and I discussed at the end of today’s episode!

Natural Hospital Births in Puerto Rico & Guam

To listen to this episode, and more than 300 other birth stories in The Birth Hour archives, join our listener supporter group here!

Giving Birth in Puerto Rico

Anjelica gave birth to her first daughter while living abroad on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Though she originally wanted to deliver with a midwife, she had to make adjustments based on her location’s cultural norms and her Spanish language barrier. Anjelica’s story takes some crazy turns that involve driving two-hours to the hospital, her husband paying for a private labor room while she was in labor, and her doula almost delivering their baby. As she shares what birth is like for many women on the island we get an idea of what it takes for some women outside the continental U.S. to achieve a low-intervention vaginal birth.
having a baby in guam

Giving Birth in Guam

Anjelica gave birth to her second daughter on another lush island, Guam. This time around she was able to have a midwife provider like she’d hoped for the first time, but experienced other hurdles that came along with being a military spouse and mother of a busy toddler. Anjelica’s story quickly gets interesting as she realizes she’s in labor while her husband is in the middle of running a half-marathon.

Anjelica Malone Bio

Anjelica Malone lives in Santa Rita, Guam and is the mother of two little island girls, the wife of a U.S. Coast Guard service member, a Lactation Educator Counselor, and the author of book Milk Boss 101. She enjoys traveling with her family and blogging about motherhood, culture, and sustainable living. You can find out more about Anjelica and her global life at www.AnjelicaMalone.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at @AnjelicaMalone.

Resources

Birth Becomes Her

Today’s episode was brought to you by Birth Becomes Her, which seeks to inspire both expectant parents and birth professionals. On birthbecomesher.com they share new birth photo stories each week from some of the greatest birth photographers across the world. Birth Becomes Her’s mission is to inspire you as an artist, and encourage you as a parent. Birth is a process of strength, of determination, and of beauty. And through the sharing of birth photography, Birth Becomes Her shows every part of the journey. Use coupon code BIRTHHOUR to get 20% off anything in the Birth Becomes Her shop including birth photography presets, contracts, toolkits, and more!

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