Zahra Kassam, an early childhood education entrepreneur, delivered her two children with unmedicated hospital births using midwives and the hypnobirthing method. Having experienced both postpartum bliss and postpartum depression, she contrasts her two births, her miscarriage, and discusses the importance of mothers caring for themselves.
Zahra Kassam Bio
Zahra Kassam is Founder and CEO of Monti Kids: the only subscription service for children ages 0-3 that provides an authentic Montessori education, proven in schools for over 100 years. Zahra holds a BA in Psychology from Harvard and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an internationally certified Montessori teacher at the infant, toddler, and preschool levels and a mother to two young boys.
Through Monti Kids, Zahra is filling the education void from birth to preschool, the most critical years of development when 85% of the brain is formed. Zahra has been invited to the White House Early Education Summit, named a Global Education Influencer, named a ‘World Changing Woman’ by Conscious Company Media, and was nominated for the Dalai Lama Unsung Heroes of Compassion Awards for her work with children. Zahra has appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and recently gave a TEDx talk on education for babies. Follow Zahra on Instagram @zahraikassam.
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.
After dealing with Gestational Diabetes that was insulin dependent for her fasting numbers and finding out she had Group B strep, Victoria had the most amazing, beautiful birth. She labored for 24 hours, pushed for 3 hours, all with the wonderful support of her doula and birth center. She had a birth plan and things went pretty well according to her plan.
Unfortunately things got harder postpartum. Victoria tried to breastfeed but got sick every time and it got progressively worse. Her baby had no wet diapers for 24 hours so she started to supplement with formula. After a lactation appointment where she mentioned how she’d been feeling, she was sent to the doctor the next day with a subclinical infection where they checked to make sure she didn’t have any remaining placenta. Her health continued to worsen, so she went back in to the doctor and found out she had high blood pressure, 30 lbs of swelling, a headache, and URQ pain. She was sent home and told to get a BP cuff. 4 hours later her blood pressure was in critical level and she was admitted to the hospital for severe post natal preeclampsia and stayed in the hospital for 4 days.
Victoria is still sorting out issues months later. She is now considered pre-diabetic, has high cholesterol, is still on blood pressure meds for chronic hypertension, and had to wear a heart monitor. She is working with a therapist for medically-based anxiety and PPA, and taking Zoloft. Victoria never had any health issues prior to pregnancy and now she feels like her body is failing her after such a joyous birth.
Victoria Buker Bio
Victoria is the Director of Development & Marketing for a non-profit and has over 15 years of non-profit development and sales experience. She and her husband welcomed their first child, Madison Kai, in June. Victoria has an MBA from Georgia Southern University and a BS in Biology from Mary Baldwin. Victoria loves to be outdoors: whether that is running, hiking, exploring her new town, SCUBA diving or paddle-boarding. She is thankful that her little babe loves being outside too and taking adventures with Victoria and her husband!
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!
Despite an autoimmune condition that can interfere with fertility, Amy Leigh became pregnant easily with her first son. It was uneventful – besides nausea until 23 weeks, and having to cut off her wedding ring due to being so swollen. Amy Leigh approached birth with great avoidance and the hopes that she would get an epidural, sleep through labor, wake up, and push a baby out without feeling any of it. She was instead induced with preeclampsia and her epidural did not work. This left her facing the reality of birth stuck in bed, hooked up to wires, and drowsy on magnesium. After pushing for 2 hours, her son was born, whisked away to be bathed, and Amy Leigh was left with a placenta that had to be manually extracted. Migraines, NICU time, constant pumping, and sleep deprivation finished out this traumatic experience that left her afraid of having another child.
After learning of her pregnancy with baby 2, Amy Leigh sought the help of a perinatal therapist. She was able to process and grieve her traumatic birth and approach the new birth with an open heart. Amy Leigh and Kevin hired a doula and worked with supportive OB. Her second son came on his own a few days before his due date. She decided to go for it at the last second and try an epidural again- this time it worked (inserted right as she hit transition). She and Kevin rested all night, and she peacefully gave birth with her doula and husband by her side, all within 12 hours. Her son remained on her chest for 2 hours after birth and was not bathed until the next day. With both births, a military PCS move followed shortly after, though the second time she was on a plane with a 2 year old and newborn just 12 days after giving birth.
Amy Leigh Fernandez Bio
Amy Leigh is a mom to 2 boys (Ryan, 3.5 years and Finn, 14 months), partner to Kevin. They are a military family living in Southern California with their boys & two black labs. Amy Leigh was inspired by healing from her own traumatic first birth to use her role as a clinical social worker to help other families. She is a licensed therapist for Hold Space Healing, a private psychotherapy practice in Temecula, CA, where she works with new moms, perinatal mental health and all “mom life” issues, as well as military family readiness and weight-inclusive wellness for those who want to stop dieting and make peace with food and body. She is currently working on her Perinatal Mental Health certification (PMH-C) with Postpartum Support International. Contact- holdspacehealing.com or @holdspacehealing on Instagram.
Motif Medical 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.
Megan and her husband, David, began trying for their first baby in the Spring of 2018. In April Megan learned she was pregnant with a due date of early January. She established care with a local Birth Center and had a fairly uneventful pregnancy. 40 weeks came and went and at 42 weeks, she was induced at the birth center as they would not be able to keep her in their care past 42 weeks. 30 hours later at 42 weeks 2 days and a transfer to the local hospital, their son, Caden, was born on January 20th at 9 lbs 2 oz and 22in long.
An uneventful pregnancy, marathon labor, and difficult postpartum opened Megan’s eyes to the various resources within her local birth community and sparked a fire in her to help inform new and expecting moms about what their options truly are when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
Megan Taylor Bio
Megan was born, raised, and currently resides in McKinney, Texas with her husband (David), 7 month old Son (Caden) and 2 dogs (Kali and Piper). Megan works for a local nonprofit as a Grant Writer and teaches dance classes for low income youth within the community. Megan is a retired dancer and enjoys all things fitness related. Current hobbies include yoga and weight lifting. She also loves spending time with her family outdoors (except for those Texas summers), cooking with her husband, and traveling. Connect with her on Facebook- Megan Taylor (Morgan) or Instagram @megantaylor6813.
Sarah got pregnant very quickly with her daughter Savannah- so quickly it ended up being a shock even though it was planned. Sarah had an easy pregnancy physically, but experienced significant challenges and upheaval in her life during her pregnancy, and did not generally enjoy being pregnant. Sarah was terrified of giving birth but still planned an intervention free hospital birth with her midwives and doula.
However at 39 weeks and 6 days, Sarah’s midwives decided she needed to be induced due to high blood pressure. All of Sarah’s plans went out the window, and what followed was a 48 hour wild ride of an induction, including almost every intervention known to man, and 4 hours of pushing, ending in the vaginal birth of her daughter.
Despite the drastic change in plans, Sarah found the entire experience empowering and felt supported and in control.
Sarah suffered significant tearing, a few challenges with breastfeeding, and even now continues to struggle with postpartum anxiety, but overall she had a very positive and supported postpartum experience, for which she gives credit to her husband, family, doula, Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep Class, and her placenta pills.
Sarah Deming Bio
Sarah is 32 years old and lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband Misha and daughter Savannah, age 13 months. She is a mixed media artist with a small business, Sarah Deming Art, and also works full time as an Administrative Assistant for a local fine art gallery. In her spare time, Sarah loves to read, garden, bake, sew, and enjoy the great outdoors. You can connect with her on Instagram @sarahdemingart or @sarahdem418 or by email: email@example.com
This episode is sponsored by CollegeBacker. CollegeBacker is the easiest way to save for college with help from family & friends. In just 5 minutes, you can open a tax-advantaged 529 Plan, and then invite family & friends to contribute – even before your child is born!
Sign up at CollegeBacker.com/TheBirthHour and receive a $10 match when you start saving for your child, or when you send a gift to kickoff someone else’s college fund.
Annie has three children with about 2 years between each. She has had a hospital induction with epidural due to being almost 42 weeks with her first, an unmedicated vaginal hospital birth, and a hospital induction to have a specific midwife with her third. Having a male provider for her second birth brought up some unresolved sexual traumas from her past so she did everything she could to heal and find a supportive care team for her last birth. She discusses suffering postpartum depression after her second and third births and pelvic floor issues.
Annie Davis Bio
Annie is currently a stay at home mom to three kids, a dog, and two cats. Her husband is in the military and the frequent moves and lack of childcare at her current location mean she’s taking a year off from her profession as a librarian. Previously she’s flown helicopters and worked as a birth doula/babywearing educator. You can find her on Instagram at @librarylane.
Local mom fitness groups – Stroller Strong Moms – Leavenworth
Today’s episode is sponsored by Sealy Baby. Visit them on Instagram to learn more about the brand new Tempur-Pedic® Baby Crib Mattress, as well as a few of America’s favorite baby mattresses from Sealy Baby.