Two Births Abroad in the Middle East

Keelie and her partner decided to start their family while living abroad in the Middle East. Keelie’s first pregnancy was smooth until a concern at 34 weeks of low amniotic fluid levels. While subsequent ultrasounds remained moderately concerning, the health of the baby remained strong. At 38 weeks Keelie began having prodromal labor until she experienced premature rupture of membranes. This resulted in an induction and birth – 3 hours later – without an epidural. Keelie’s second pregnancy included a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and an epidural-assisted birth at a joint midwife/doctor practice at a different hospital in the country. Both births were followed by postpartum hemorrhage which was quickly addressed by the medical professionals. While her first birth was a moderately traumatic whirlwind, her second was a far more peaceful, mother-led birthing experience.

keelie sorel birth story

Keelie Sorel Bio

Keelie is an American Student Affairs professional living and working in the Middle East. Originally from Colorado, she and her partner, Jake, have 2 kids: 2-year-old Amara and 2-month-old Nadir, and a fur baby, a 6-year-old mutt. 

Zahler Prenatal Vitamins

Today’s episode is sponsored by Advanced Nutrition by Zahler. Zahler offers  complete nutrition at a crucial time when it matters most. Zahler kosher Prenatal + DHA contains a potent blend of 26 vitamins & nutrients including 300mg of DHA and the active form of Folate. Zahler’s Prenatal provides the full spectrum of nutrients you and your developing baby require. Enjoy an exclusive 25% off toward your purchase on Amazon using code PREDHA25.

Nairobi, Kenya Home Water Birth Story

Before she was even pregnant, Loi had read all there is to read about pregnancy and childbirth. She knew that she wanted an unmedicated birth, and began to prepare herself by learning all she could about labor and delivery. After a smooth pregnancy, Loi had a home water birth with a midwife attending in Nairobi, Kenya!

Loi Awat Bio

Loi Awat is a creative and business writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She has eight years’ experience as a TV writer, creative writing coach, and organizational grant writer. She’s an aspiring author with a passion for children’s books, fantasy, and Afrofuturism.

water birth kenya

Motif Medical

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

International Home Birth During COVID-19

Charlotte found out she was pregnant with her 2nd child in December 2019. In January, while still in her first trimester, it was confirmed that she was moving to Singapore from London with her 2 year old daughter and husband in May. However, due to coronavirus their moving plans were changed and they ended up spending 6 months in her husband’s home country of New Zealand.

Charlotte talks about navigating three different birthing systems as well as external uncertainty through pregnancy. About choosing homebirth coming out of a hospital birth culture. And choosing homebirth again even as she was living rurally and in temporary accommodation. Finally Charlotte talks about welcoming a second child into this world and navigating postpartum while moving countries in the middle of a global pandemic. 

homebirth abroad during covid

Charlotte Meyer Bio

Charlotte is Danish. She is married to an incredibly supportive partner. They have two children; 2 year old Isabella and 5 month old James. She lives in Singapore. You can connect with Charlotte on Instagram @alliedsince84.

Resources

Expectful

This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep 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 and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today. 

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

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda and more. And the best part, they take care of everything – including getting all required paperwork, dealing with your insurance company, and explaining your options in order to get your free pump shipped straight to your door. 

Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes. 

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

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 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.