Jackie and Albert tried for a year to get pregnant before they had a successful IVF transfer. Jackie had a pretty good pregnancy until the end when she had kidney stones and then the wild ride of the twins’ birth! 48 hours from beginning to end, baby A came vaginally on September 10th, and 15 hours later, baby B was born on September 11th from an emergency C section. The babies were in the NICU for about a week before they got to take them home and they are now happy and healthy!!
Jackie Laino Bio
Jackie lives in New Jersey and works at a medical device company as a Marketing Manager for the US Region. She is happily married to her husband, Albert, who is a solutions consultant and they’ve been married for three years. They have identical twin girls named Amelia and Shea, and a 90lb fur baby named Gus. You can follow their life with twins on Instagram @jakk__ & her husband @all_day_alay, or you can join her twins community @tipsfortwinning.
March of Dimes
Today’s episode was 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 we’ll be discussing 5 main tips from March of Dimes and the CDC to help your baby have a strong start. You can also find out more at marchofdimes.org/TheBirthHour.
Jennifer’s husband was diagnosed with cancer two months after they were married. They were able to bank his sperm before he started chemotherapy and knew that IVF would be the only way to have children in the future. After years of battling cancer they decided they didn’t want to let cancer hold them back from living life. They implanted one embryo through IVF and were shocked when they found out their one embryo had split into two. They were expecting twins!
When Jennifer was seven months pregnant, her husband got very sick and was admitted into the hospital. They weren’t sure he would make it to the twins birth. Miraculously he made it home and was able to be at the birth with is wheelchair and oxygen. Jennifer’s birth was not easy and she decided she wanted to try and have her babies vaginally. The first baby came vaginally, but the second baby’s heart rate started to drop. They had to do an emergency c-section. Baby B came out blue and they rushed him to the NICU. Thankfully he was only in for the evening and Jennifer was reunited with both babies in the morning. They were able to spend a couple months together as a family of four before her husband passed away in July 2018.
Jennifer Hanks Bio
Jennifer recently lost the love of her life to cancer. She is now a single mom of IVF miracle twin boys. She hopes to help others as she shares her journey as a new widow and mother of twins. Connect with her on Instagram @cocoscaravan or on her website cocoscaravan.com.
FamilyAlbum Photo Sharing App
Today’s episode is sponsored by FamilyAlbum. FamilyAlbum is a family-focused photo sharing app with over 5 million users worldwide. FamilyAlbum helps you save, share, and remember the special moments in your baby’s life. You can even get started before baby is born and document your pregnancy.
FamilyAlbum app offers unlimited free storage, is completely ad-free, and provides smart, automatic organization. But my absolute favorite thing is that you can invite friends and family to view your photos privately and securely. You can even specify which family members see which photos. Your family will be notified when new photos are added and they can leave comments creating a fun conversation! You can also use suggested ideas for monthly photobooks, or create your own and then have them shipped straight to your door. The app keeps your memories safe, allowing you to recover them even if your phone is lost or damaged. To download this fun app head to the apple or google play app store and search for FamilyAlbum, or go to family-album.com!
Katie and her husband, Dave, conceived twins through IVF after four years of intensive fertility treatments. Katie’s conception story includes a vasectomy reversal, two rounds of embryo generation, miscarriage, embryo loss, genetic studies, and seemingly endless trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
Katie’s pregnancy was uneventful. She enjoyed the joint care of midwives and an OBGYN. Living rurally meant a three hour one-way drive to see her care providers monthly, but thankfully doctors and hospital staff in her home community bent several rules and provided regular non-stress tests in the ER, as well as weekly monitoring as Katie and the babies neared full term.
The babies were born full term, at the Penticton hospital in British Columbia. Three days prior to delivery Katie agreed to scheduling a C-section because baby A was a Frank Breech presentation, and baby B was transverse. The delivery happened under un-planned general anesthetic, but thanks to amazing midwife and doula support, Katie, Dave and the babies came through safe, happy (mostly) and thriving.
This episode is sponsored by Crane Humidifiers. Crane’s colorful humidifiers are a nursery necessity to help relieve your baby’s tiny congested nose, which can make feeding and sleeping a struggle for both baby and mom. A happy baby is a healthy baby. Crane is generously offering $10 OFF and free shipping on all of their full-priced 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH19 at www.crane-usa.com.
Valerie and George found out they were expecting in July 2017. After waiting 4 excruciating weeks before the first doctor’s appointment, the day finally came to see her OB. While waiting for the doctor the nurse said, “wouldn’t it be funny if you had twins?” It seemed like a funny joke at the time, but sure enough, when the doctor was doing the ultrasound, she said “I see two heartbeats – you are having twins.” After she said the word “twins” Valerie was in shock and didn’t hear anything else the doctor said the rest of the appointment. George and Valerie left the office feeling excited yet nervous and couldn’t wait to tell their families.
For carrying twins, Valerie had an amazing pregnancy. No morning sickness, bed rest, Braxton Hicks, high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Towards the end she did get a very uncomfortable case of carpel tunnel in her wrists and swollen ankles. Once she reached a certain stage in her pregnancy, in addition to the regular OB appointments, she also saw a maternal-fetal specialist to keep track of the growth of the twins and to make sure they were developing normally. Everything looked perfect the entire pregnancy. Not one issue of concern was ever discovered during her 36 weeks of pregnancy.
Valerie worked up until Feb 1st and the twins’ due date was March 28th. She felt great, but with twins it was recommended she rest and put her feet up to prepare for the arrival of their baby girls – Eden (Baby A) and Chloe (Baby B).
Valerie and George took a hospital tour and attended a weekend birth preparation course at the hospital where she was scheduled to deliver. Initially, Valerie had been interested at potentially looking into a birthing center, but with the high risk of twins had decided on a hospital birth. Valerie was really hoping to deliver vaginally but understood the possibility of a c-section would be higher due to the twin birth.
At the routine 36 week check-up Valerie, accompanied by her mother, went to her Doctor’s appointment. As she did at every appointment, the doctor checked each baby’s heartbeat. However, Valerie realized that it was taking much longer than usual for the doctor to complete that part and move on. Suddenly, the doctor removed the stethoscope from her ears and looked at Valerie and said “ I’m having trouble finding Baby B’s heartbeat – please go to labor and delivery for an ultrasound and I will meet you there.” Shocked and stunned, Valerie and her mom had quick moment of prayer in the exam room and then headed to the hospital.
Valerie and her mother made the quick drive across the street to the hospital and checked into Labor and Delivery. The nurses whisked her into a triage room and hooked her up to a machine to monitor contractions and continued to look for a heartbeat – they seemed optimistic and were great at keeping Valerie calm. At this point Valerie’s mother said it was time to call George and the rest of the immediate family. Valerie didn’t see the point in making everyone worry because she thought surely once the more advanced ultrasound machine arrived the heartbeat would be detected, and everything would be fine. Her mother insisted, and the calls were made.
Finally, the ultrasound technician arrived and began to conduct the ultrasound. With so much time passing by the reality of the situation began to sink in and the shock and optimism began to wear off. The ultrasound tech wouldn’t answer any questions and Valerie could tell she felt awkward so stopped pressing her; but, after going to so many appointments, when Chloe’s heart was projected on the screen it was clear that there wasn’t any activity.
George arrived after rushing to the hospital from work, and Valerie’s doctor came in to talk to the couple. (She had been finishing a scheduled surgery) It was official – Chloe’s heart had stopped beating and was no longer alive. They needed to deliver Eden right away. Since Valerie had wanted to try for a vaginal birth the doctor gave her the option to either be induced or have a c-section. Valerie and George had some moments alone to try to process what was happening and due to the circumstances, they chose a c-section. Once the decision was made everyone moved quickly to prepare Valerie for surgery.
Eden Naomi Howell was born first – she was healthy and had a strong loud cry. She received a 9 on her Apgar test! Shortly after, Chloe Estelle Howell was born. Valerie got to nuzzle both babies once they were born before they were taken away with George to wait for her in recovery as the rest of the surgery was completed. Valerie was groggy in recovery but was able to hold and nurse Eden. Once released from recovery and moved to a room filled with her parents, MIL, sister, brother-in law, and aunts and uncles she was able to spend more time with Eden and Chloe. Everyone was able to see her and hold her and spend time with her – she was a perfectly formed and beautiful baby.
It is still unclear exactly what happened to Chloe. There
was meconium in her water which is what she swallowed and took her life.
However, the reason that happened is unknown. The reality of walking into the
hospital with two babies and walking out with one was shocking and difficult
for Valerie and George to deal with. Valerie was so caught off guard – no one
ever speaks about the possibility of having a still born baby. She thought that
things like didn’t happen during birth in this day and age, but ironically it
is more common than most people are aware of.
The physical recovery for Valerie went well. The surgery was routine with no difficulties, and she was released from the hospital on the 4th day. Her incision healed beautifully, and she was able to recover without incident. Shortly after going home, arrangements were made for Chloe. Learning to take care of a newborn while laying another child to rest in the same week is an enormous burden to bear. However, family and friends loved and embraced Valerie and George as they grieved and learned to navigate the life of new parents in a supportive environment. One day they will have to explain to Eden that she had a twin sister. Sweet Chloe Estelle is gone, but never forgotten.
Valerie Howell Bio
Valerie Howell resides in Southern California with her
husband George and their 19-month-old daughter Eden. She has lived in
California for the majority of her life but has a soft spot for Seattle,
Washington where she went to high school and attended the University of
Washington where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in communication. She later
attended California State University and received a Master’s degree in
Integrated Marketing Communications and is currently enjoying a career as a
corporate event planner. When she’s not
working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to
read and dance and hopes to pass along the love for both to her daughter.
You can follow Valerie on IG at @valgal217 for more adventures of event planning and being a working Mommy.
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Hyperemesis Gravidarum Pregnancies and Birth Center Twin Birth
After a long pregnancy battling severe hyperemesis gravidarum, Hannah gave birth to her first son in a birth center at nearly 41 weeks. Ten months later, she became pregnant again, this time with a set of twins! Despite living in a state that considers twins to be a “high-risk” pregnancy, they were able to work with an OBGYN and midwife team to deliver their babies out-of-hospital. She carried her twins for 38+5 weeks until her water broke and they shot out of her body in just 1.5 hours! Hannah struggled with breastfeeding all of her children, due to tongue-ties and tight jaws. She was forced to exclusively pump with her son, but was able to breastfeed her twins successfully after a difficult 3 month journey working with a lactation consultant and occupational therapist.
Hannah Mockary Bio
Hannah is 26 years old and lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. She married her high school sweetheart right after graduating from college in 2012 and became pregnant with her first child in 2015. Her health and lifestyle drastically changed after having hyperemesis gravidarum during and after both pregnancies. Her son was born in a birth center in July of 2016. Hannah became pregnant with her twin daughters in 2017 and was also able to deliver them out-of-hospital. While chasing after her 3 kids under 2, Hannah stays active in the community by serving at her local church and part-time work with online marketing. @hannahmockary on Instagram
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Lindsey Bliss shares her six births in four stories: a birth center birth with Mia (now 11); a vaginal twin birth in the hospital with surprise-twins, Birdie & Hazel (now 8); another surprise set of twins, Luke & Rocco (now 5.5) who were born at home; and finally, baby Olympia (1) who was also born via a planned homebirth. I love Lindsey’s down-to-earth approach to birth, postpartum, and parenting!
Lindsey Bliss Bio
Lindsey Bliss is the co-director of Carriage House Birth, an experienced birth doula, and the mother of seven. Lindsey is considered to be a multiples expert after giving birth to and parenting two consecutive sets of twins. Lindsey takes on her role as a birth doula and childbirth educator with serious passion and commitment. Her mission is to hold space for expectant families through education and informed decision making. Being prepared, and knowing what options are available increases the likelihood of an amazing birth. Lindsey facilitates that process, giving people the tools and inspiration to empower themselves. Her unwavering support and gentle guidance have benefited over two hundred families. Lindsey supports first time parents, multiparas, single parents, LGBT families, twins births, medicated and non medicated vaginal births, cesarean births, and VBACs.
Connect with her on Instagram at @doulabliss and @carriagehousebirth