Julie had an uncomplicated pregnancy under the care of midwives, made both harder and easier by COVID restrictions (she didn’t get to see family and friends but she did get to rest as much as she wanted and never dealt with unsolicited comments from strangers). After hiring a doula and talking in detail about birth options, she made the choice to switch to a birth center. Julie prepared for birth using hypnobirthing, and was surprised to find that she enjoyed doing meditations before bed with her husband, Matt. She went into labor at 40+5 following a membrane sweep, and went to the birth center after a fast and intense early labor. Julie used all the tools available to her at the birth center, including the tub, and eventually gave birth in the water after about 8 hours of active labor. Her daughter, Lily, was born on Julie and Matt’s 5th wedding anniversary, and the new parents shared some champagne to celebrate both occasions while resting together.
After this smooth welcome to the world, breastfeeding difficulties quickly developed. Lily had a lip and tongue tie which caused weight gain issues and unbearable pain while nursing. She had a release at 5 days old, which led to improvements, but Julie struggled with anxiety and stress associated with these early issues, as well as persistent pain and discomfort while nursing. She was eventually able to establish a feeding routine that worked, but she was never able to enjoy the breastfeeding process and dealt with recurring clogs. Julie also struggled to decide whether or not to return to work, and after choosing to stay home with Lily to pursue new career opportunities, she was surprised and encouraged by how many women reached out to tell her they had also left the workforce when their children were small and never regretted it for a minute. Julie was happy to find a job that better fit her lifestyle when Lily was 8 months old, and despite challenging newborn days, she has enjoyed every stage more than the last, especially after successfully weaning when Lily turned one.
Julie Rosenberg Bio
Julie lives in New Jersey with her husband, Matt, and one-year-old daughter, Lily. She was a book editor in New York City for over a decade and now works remotely as an editor at a software company. Send Julie a message to connect on Instagram @juliearosenberg.
This episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Their commitment to providing parents with the foundation to thrive has launched the company into creating a broad range of award-winning products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably, and safely – where function and quality are not compromised. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet. Check out Ergobaby’s Embrace in Soft Air Mesh and new Evolve 3-in-1 Bouncer that we discussed on the podcast!
After a pregnancy whose physical hardship she found surprising, Alena was further blindsided by the postpartum period. We don’t talk about all the ways postpartum depression can manifest. The media focuses on the more extreme cases, and since the experience is so often cast in shame, individuals tend not to be transparent with their stories. Alena felt sad for a long time and had trouble bonding with her baby. She wants to be more open so that others can recognize PPD if it happens to them. That was one impetus behind publishing a memoir.
Alena Dillon is the author of the novels Mercy House, The Happiest Girl in the World, and Eyes Turned Skyward, and the pregnancy and motherhood memoir My Body Is A Big Fat Temple. She lives north of Boston with her husband, two children, and dog. You can follow her on IG at @alena.dillon or Twitter at TheAlenaDillon or visit her website at alenadillon.com.
Expecting Amy – Amy’s Schumer’s documentary on pregnancy on HBO Max
Today’s episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow has helped millions of new and expecting parents discover the breastfeeding and postpartum essentials covered by their insurance including breast pumps, maternity compression, and lactation education & support.
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This episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely. From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered. See all of their comfy clothing at kindredbravely.com! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their summer line of clothing and loungewear!
Gina had two different births with her two boys and her postpartum experiences followed suit. With Owen, in 2020, the pandemic made for a lonely start, but she was so grateful for the support she received from her Doula, lactation consultant, and close family and friends. Owen was a healthy baby but was losing a lot of weight and it was determined that the cause was poor transfer and low supply. Triple feeding became a huge source of anxiety and sleep deprivation. Eventually they found their groove and had a beautiful nursing relationship but the low supply was a giant elephant in the room, constantly causing anxiety and stress.
Physical recovery was challenging after a long 4 hour pushing phase and at her six week appointment, It was determined that she had developed granulation tissue at her 2nd degree tear site. After having it removed, she had no more discomfort and was glad she followed through. Between the isolation of the pandemic, breastfeeding struggles, and a colicky baby, those first couple of months were a lot harder than she expected. She began to feel like herself again after sleep training and felt immensely better when she ended their breast feeding journey. Finally, she was able to focus on her sweet boy without having her supply hanging over her head.
When Gina became pregnant with her 2nd baby, she wanted to do things differently and signed up for hypnobirthing. She worked thorough a lot of her fears and anxieties around back labor and low supply and had a quick, easy, and peaceful birth. However, the day after Colin was born they realized he had broken his right collar bone. His discomfort impacted his ability to latch and Gina ended up almost exclusively pumping. After baby chiropractic care and time, Colin was able to latch again. She still had low supply but made more milk than she expected and did not let it steal any of her joy this time around. Being able to be social and enjoy her family and friends made a big difference in her mental health. Sure enough though, the whole family got Covid when Colin was 8 weeks old. He got the least sick out everyone and it was proof that even a little bit of breast milk can have huge benefits. Managing expectations, support from family and friends, and an easy physical recovery made this postpartum period so much easier than the last.
Gina McCleary Bio
Gina lives with her two sons, Owen (2 years old) and Colin (5 months), and her husband Chris. Chris is an engineer and Gina is a freelance surface designer and family portrait photographer. Their two dogs and two cats help make their home a happy and furry place. They love living on Cape Cod, where they are surrounded by local artists, salt water, antiques, great ice cream, family and friends. Connect with her on Facebook: Gina McCleary or Instagram: @GinaElizabethPhotography or @Mrs_McCleary
Monumental Beginnings Doula (Massachusetts and Rhode Island)
Mama Bloom Beyond Doula & Hypnobirthing (Cape Cod)
This episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Their commitment to providing parents with the foundation to thrive has launched the company into creating a broad range of award-winning products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably, and safely – where function and quality are not compromised. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet. Check out Ergobaby’s Embrace in Soft Air Mesh that we discussed on the podcast!
Mary tried to conceive for almost 2 years, then became pregnant within two months of changing her diet. She wanted an unmedicated birth but went into the process uneducated and thought she could just do it. At 38 and 1 weeks, her waters broke around 10:30am. She went to the hospital where mild contractions started around 12pm. She was checked in triage and was 2cm and waters were confirmed to have broken. She was put in a room and by 2pm contractions had progressed, were one on top of another, and were very painful. Around 5:30pm she was checked and was told she was 6cm, to which she promptly asked for an epidural. They placed it quickly but before the bed was all the way lowered, she started feeling her legs convulsing and told the nurse. The nurse said she was 10cm and was ready to push. Mary pushed for about 40 minutes and Eloise was born at 6:31pm. Post-partum was hard, with a combo of postpartum depression, feeling like she failed because she got an epidural, learning how to be a mom, and her husband returning to work. But she muscled through it.
A month after Eloise’s 1st birthday, Mary knew she and her husband had slipped up and she might be pregnant but she thought it not likely because it took 2 years to conceive the first time. Sure enough, she was pregnant and this time, she was bound and determined to be educated and have an unmedicated birth, possibly her dream homebirth. Unfortunately, a homebirth was out of her budget so she was determined to have an unmedicated hospital birth and was focused on health and diet and had become totally enthralled with all things pregnancy and labor related.
About halfway through this pregnancy is when she found The Birth Hour and couldn’t get enough of it. At 39 and 5 weeks, she had her bloody show at her husband’s Christmas, work dinner. They went home to get their stuff, headed to the hospital, and she was admitted at midnight and contractions were coming steadily. At around 3:20am she asked the nurse to check her and Mary was complete. The fetal ejection reflex took over and Oliver was born at 3:30am. postpartum was hard again but this time was filled with more postpartum rage and trying to figure out how to be a mom to two, under two.
In May of 2020, Mary found out she was pregnant, with another surprise pregnancy. This time, she got to have a midwife and was planning for a homebirth, her dream. Covid was still very new so she was nervous about how it could affect her or the baby, but she managed to dodge the virus and had no close calls, up until she was 38 weeks. The friend who lived with Mary, said she had tested positive for covid. It was the scariest and most stressful part of the whole pregnancy, wondering if the home birth would happen, if her husband would get covid and not be able to attend the birth. Planning for every possible route this could go, all while trying to hold the baby in.
Quarantine ended on Mary’s guess date (Due Date) and then it was on to get the baby out. She tried everything to get the baby out and nothing worked. At 41 and 5 (42 and 1 based on her original guess date) Mary felt contractions start as she was putting her babes to bed around 7:30pm. They quickly intensified and the birth team was called. By 11:30pm, all but the second midwife were there. Mary felt pushy for about an hour and did what her body told her to do. And Primrose was born into her mama’s arms at 12:51am. It was the labor and birth experience she had dreamed of for many years, and it all worked out perfectly. Postpartum was again difficult and had more depression with a little bit of rage sprinkled in, but overall better than the two previous postpartum’s because Mary was honest about her struggles.
Mary Johnson Bio
Mary Johnson is 32 years old, married to her husband David, who is 33 years old. They have been married for 9 years (known each other for 26 years) and have three children, Eloise who is 5, Oliver (Bear) who is 3, and Primrose (Jones) who is 1 year old. She lives in Bakersfield California and is a stay-at-home mom with a side hustle of making custom cakes from her home. She homeschools Eloise and is busy chasing the other two around and trying to stay connected with her friends who help her along this mom journey. She is also currently waiting to be matched with intended parent/s to be a gestational carrier.
Mary can be found mostly on Instagram. She is only on Facebook for the birth hour patron group. Instagram handles are: private account @call_me_murry or her public cake account @cakes_by_maryelizabeth
This episode is sponsored by Caraway Home. Caraway Home has a Cookware and bakeware set that all come in the most beautiful colors and all Caraway Home sets come equipped with easy-access storage solutions so that no stacking is required. It’s a modern & chemical-free version of the traditional 16-piece set, pared down to just four essentials: A Fry Pan, Sauté Pan, SaucePan, and a Dutch Oven with lids for everything plus a pretty and functional storage setup comes included with the set! Visit Carawayhome.com/BIRTHHOUR to take advantage of a limited-time offer for 10% off your next purchase.
Today’s episode is also sponsored by Betterhelp. BetterHelp is online therapy that offers video, phone, and even live chat-only therapy sessions. I love that Betterhelp is so much more affordable AND convenient than in-person therapy. For many people the barrier to getting therapy is finding a therapist but with Betterhelp, you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hour! Our listeners get 10% off their first month at BetterHelp.com/birthhour.
Kellie’s first labor lasted 32.5 hours from labor to birth. She had a hospital birth with an epidural and had an amazing and supportive doctor who advocated for her. Baby #2 was a planned induction because baby was initially diagnosed with severe Hydronephrosis. That diagnosis was changed to Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney (MCDK) after birth. She discusses her birth and postpartum with both babies.
Kellie Brandt Bio
Kellie is married to her husband Austin. They’ve been married for 3 years and together for 9. They have a 19 month old and a 3 month old! Connect with her on Instagram @Kellieannfreels or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.