Emergency Cesareans and Navigating Breastfeeding and NICU Stay

Despite feeling prepared, Amanda’s first birth experience ended in a cesarean birth when her baby started struggling with heart decelerations. Before the doctor even made the cut, she already knew she wanted a VBAC experience with her next birth. The postpartum experience with her first was challenging, but things settled after a few months.

When Amanda became pregnant over a year later, she did everything she could to prepare for a VBAC. She went into labor at 41 weeks and had an amazing labor but experienced a complete uterine rupture after one hour of pushing. She was rushed into emergency surgery. Once delivered, her baby was rushed to the NICU and remained there for 9 days. While recovering in the hospital Amanda experienced chest pain, and a CT scan revealed a pulmonary embolism. Postpartum had other challenges related to low breastmilk supply and she had a physically and emotionally painful recovery. 

ruptured-uterus-birth-story

Amanda Jamison Bio

Amanda lives near Denver, CO with her husband Jonathan and two kids: Rowan (2.5 years old) and Aria (8 months). She can be found on Instagram at @amanda_moves or on Facebook under Amanda Jamison. 

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s 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!

Cholestasis, Emergency C-Section, IUGR Induction w/ Successful VBAC

Rafa, October 2017: Emily was diagnosed with cholestasis at 35 weeks, and as a result her midwives scheduled her for an induction at 37 weeks. She was induced with Cytotec over a period of 24 hours. At the end of the 24 hours, the baby’s heart rate started to drop. She was taken to a pre-op room for monitoring where it was quickly determined that the baby was not tolerating the induction well and she needed a C-section. The doctors put her under general anesthesia because she had just eaten (due to an outdated, not-evidence-based hospital policy). She met her son about two hours after he was born. 

Joaquín, July 2021: Emily really wanted a VBAC after her traumatic C section birth. Around 25 weeks she learned that her baby was measuring small, in the 11th percentile. His percentile continued to drop and he was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. At 37 weeks he was measuring in the 4th percentile. As a result, Emily was scheduled for an induction at 38 weeks. This time she wasn’t eligible for cervical ripening meds like Cytotec so she was offered a Foley balloon. After 48 hours, 3 different Foley balloons, an epidural, and some Pitocin, she had a successful VBAC.

IUGR birth story VBAC

Emily Taylor Bio

Emily lives in Northeast Washington D.C. with her wife Sofia, her sons Rafa and Joaquín, and their many, many houseplants. She works as a product manager for an education tech company. Emily loves baking projects, swimming laps, city adventures, and that 8 p.m. moment when both kids are finally asleep. She dislikes diet culture, the American healthcare system, and when people put bananas and melon in fruit salad. Feel free to connect with her via email at tayloremily2@gmail.com, especially if you live in the DC area and are looking for mom friends!

Resource

Evidence Based Birth

Premama Wellness

Today’s episode is sponsored by Premama Wellness. Premama creates doctor-backed supplements that support every stage of your maternity wellness journey. From balancing hormones, to trying to conceive, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding nutritional support. All Premama supplements are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan or vegetarian, with no additives and no synthetic flavors. Discover why moms (and dads-to-be!) trust Premama wellness for their nutritional support by visiting Premamawellness.com. You can use the code BirthHour25 for 25% off your purchase!

Healing Repeat Cesarean and VBA2C Birth Stories

First pregnancy and birth

Victoria’s first pregnancy with her honeymoon baby went smoothly. She watched “The Business of Being Born,” and decided that an intervention free birth was what she wanted. She chose a hospital with certified nurse midwives and the lowest cesarean rate in town. She believed she was all set, and decided not to hire a doula or pursue comfort measure classes. Labor started at 40 weeks and 3 days. 

After seventeen hours of labor, most of it with an epidural, she consented to a cesarean and met the newest love of her life under a large blue drape. The meeting was shortened when she started feeling pain during suturing. Her son was whisked away to be measured while her husband and the nurse anesthetist tended to her. Once the suturing was completed, and the cocktail of drugs took effect, she was back in bright spirits and was able to breastfeed during the golden hour, before introducing her son to his extended family. 

OR for birth

Second pregnancy and birth

Despite an emotional first labor and birth, and a Graves’ Disease diagnosis four months postpartum, Victoria and her husband were eager to add another baby to their family. They found out about baby number two on Black Friday, when their oldest son was nine months old. 

This time they hired a doula, saw a pelvic floor therapist, and was involved with their local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) chapter. She decided to continue prenatal care at the same hospital as her oldest son’s birth, hoping for a redemptive birth. Around 24 weeks, she received a letter from her medical insurance saying that this hospital was no longer in network and she needed to find care elsewhere. 

Shortly after receiving that letter, Victoria and Jeff met a well-known, VBAC supportive doctor at an ICAN Q&A meeting. They decided that night to switch to his care.

At her 40 week and 5 day prenatal appointment, Victoria and her doctor had “the talk” about options. She expressed her recent feelings that she was supposed to have a cesarean, and he advised her to call her husband and to pray about it. After a short phone call in office, they decided to go ahead with a repeat cesarean, and scheduled it for that evening. Their family centered cesarean was the healing birth she hoped for. At a day old, her son was diagnosed with sagittal synostosis, a birth defect where the suture lines of the skull fuse prematurely. To further complicate things, Baton Rouge and surrounding areas experienced a 1000 year flood only two days after his birth.

Third pregnancy and Birth

Two years after their second son was born, Jeff and Victoria felt the time was right to add to their family, and got pregnant on the first try-again! Sadly, their pregnancy ended in a miscarriage two and a half weeks later. Eleven months and one more early miscarriage later, they were finally pregnant again. This time, they saw the very first heartbeats of their baby girl at five weeks and five days, and found out that she shared a due date with her oldest brother.

They wrestled with the decision to hire a doula and ultimately decided to take a comfort measures class at 38 weeks instead and to keep their labor as a bonding moment between the two of them. Labor started at midnight at 40 weeks and 4 days. Fifteen hours later they were holding their sweet VBA2C baby!

Victoria Lero Bio

Victoria is a stay at home mom from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her husband, Jeff, is a firefighter and they’ve been married since 2014. Their three incredible kids bring so much joy and laughter to their lives! Victoria is a self-proclaimed birth nerd and hopes to one day support families through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in some capacity (be it through doula support, midwifery, or a podcast).

 She loves to connect with others, and you can reach her through Instagram @LoveLero or Gmail victorialynnlero@gmail.com

Babylist

Today’s episode is sponsored by Babylist. 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 easily lets you add any item from any store. Plus, Babylist helps you each step of the way with their customized checklist, product guides and reviews, and personal registry consultants. They’ve even got group gifting! Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth over $100 while boxes last.

VBAC with Twins & Baby Born with Hearing Loss

Shortly after getting married Kalen and her husband were lucky to become pregnant quickly with their son and had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. She was induced at 41 weeks and 1 day but after 24 hours of labor and a cascade of interventions, her son Maverick was born via emergency c section. Determined to try for a VBAC, Kalen found a supportive provider 50 miles away. During her first ultrasound, she and her husband were shocked to find out they were expecting identical twin girls. She was induced a day shy of 37 weeks and after 30 hours of labor she was able to push out Baby A and had a breech extraction of Baby B. She talks about being readmitted to the hospital a few days after birth for the girls’ low temps and birth weights and triple feeding for 6 weeks until being able to exclusively nurse for 17 months. Kalen also talks about the processing of the news that her son was born with hearing loss and how he’s doing now. 

hearing loss baby

Kalen Andelin Bio

Kalen, 33 and her husband Ian live in Kenosha, Wisconsin with their 3 children: Maverick, 3.5 and their identical twin daughters Indy and Bowie, almost 2. They enjoy spending time in their newly renovated home and taking advantage of the four seasons the midwest has to offer.  In what little free time three toddlers during COVID have to offer, she enjoys listening to audiobooks for her book club and podcasts about pregnancy and birth while doing some therapeutic cleaning and organizing. Scrolling social media while enjoying a glass or two of wine is her favorite way to unwind, as well as couch surfing or playing some board games with her husband. There’s always a DIY project going on in their house and cute kid videos that can be found on her instagram, @kalenamy. 

Resources

Cord Blood Registry

We are so excited to introduce our new partnership with @CordBloodRegistry, also known as CBR. CBR has helped millions of parents bank their children’s newborn stem cells. Newborn stem cells have amazing potential for treatments in the future and cord blood stem cells have already been used for thirty years in stem cell transplants. It’s kind of like investing in your baby’s future health.

For a limited time, CBR is offering The Birth Hour listeners some pretty big discounts. Go to cordblood.com and use code: HOUR to get 60% off the Newborn Stem Cell Bundle which includes both cord blood and tissue banking. Visit their website to learn more about how newborn stem cell preservation could protect your whole family and why CBR is the #1 most recommended cord blood bank by families and OB/GYNs.

Two VBACs (One During Wildfire Evacuation) after Cesarean Birth

Tayla shares her three birth story summaries in her own words below:

My first birth was six years ago. I was very uneducated and unknowingly unprepared for the birthing process. My water broke on April Fool’s Day and I was induced after 12 hours. There was no informed consent practiced during my induction, no support, verbal abuse from my OB and ultimately an emergency C-section (due to fetal distress) where I was put out under general anesthesia and my poor husband was left waiting in the dust. It left me shocked and traumatized. My postpartum period was also Traumatic. I did not have any breast-feeding support and I struggled immensely!

My second labor was two years later. In the town I live in we do not have midwives as an option so I was forced to have an OB again. He was not supportive of my VBAC and always mocked me when I reminded him that was my plan. Two weeks before my due date our entire city was evacuated due to a wildfire that destroyed 1/3 of the city. It was extremely stressful as the closest city was five hours away and I had no family in the province I live in.

My husband and I are both firefighter EMTs with the city department and I was actually at work when I was sent home and told to get out of the city. My husband was torn whether he should stay and fight the fire or drive with me for five hours to the closest city. I made him come with me because I was scared that I would go into labor on the side of the road by myself. He drove me to the closest city dropped me and my toddler off at a friend’s house and left to come back up to fight the fire.

The very next morning a midwife contacted me and said she would be honored to take me on as her patient. It was a silver lining because she was so supportive of my VBAC goals! The next two weeks were very stressful as I had nowhere to live and I couldn’t stay in my friends guest room with a toddler and expecting a new baby. I finally found a rental house and as I was nesting trying to make it as comfortable as possible I went into labor naturally. My husband was actually on his way to leave to go back up to Fort McMurray to fight the fire and I told him he would need to stay because labor was starting!

I ended up having back labor because baby was posterior and I labored alone in my rental house for many hours. My husband had to drive across a strange city to drop off my son at a friend’s house during rush hour. Not being from the city we didn’t realize that huge mistake we made. So I was alone entering active labor! I called a friend who had also been evacuated and she drove me to the hospital where the midwife met us. I was not prepared to cope with the pain of labor because I think in my mind I wasn’t really convinced I was going to have a VBAC. I ended up getting an epidural and had a successful vaginal birth! My postpartum period this time was a lot less stressful and I had great support from my midwives. Breastfeeding went better and recovery was like night and day compared to my c section recovery.

firefighter paramedic pregnant

In 2018, I got pregnant again with my 3rd! I was determined to have a different birthing experience this time around. The crazy part of my story is that I didn’t slow down my doula business while I was pregnant. I even delivered a baby during a precipitous birth while I was eight months pregnant! I attended my last Doula birth two days before I went into labor.

My water broke on a stormy night 10 days before my due date. I had lined up midwifery care in the closest city which is five hours away. My plan was to have a water birth in the birthing center and I was scheduled to leave in two days when the baby had other plans. My husband was working nights when my water broke and when he got home he was shocked to see that I had my kids packed in the van and all of our stuff packed and ready to go to Edmonton five hours away. He thought I was crazy and perhaps I was! There was just no way that I was going to have my baby in our local hospital. I was invested and I was determined to have my water birth.

Contractions hadn’t started so I figured if we left right away we might make it. I labored at my Doula’s house and got to the birthing center only 45 minutes before my baby was born. If I could do it again tomorrow I would! It was the most empowering day of my life and I’m so glad that I got to experience an unmedicated birth. My postpartum recover was amazing as well aside from being in a city far away from my own home. I came home that night after having the baby to sleep on an air mattress in my doula’s living room!

You would think that being an IBCLC, breastfeeding would go swimmingly, but again I struggled with low milk supply. A lot of people are shocked by this because of my profession, but it just goes to show that sometimes even with the best support women can still struggle! I feel like women are told or made to feel that the only real goal of birth is to walk out of it alive and with a healthy baby. What women need to understand is that there is so much more to the process than that goal. It’s a journey and a life altering event. I feel this is the biggest moment in a women’s life and it deserves respect and support. How a woman views her birth will stay with her forever.

wildfire evacuation birth story

Tayla Malott Bio

Tayla is a 34 year old paramedic firefighter full-time and I have my own business called mamasaurus. I am a certified birth Doula, childbirth educator, IBCLC, one of Canada’s only spinning babies parent educators and a few other things! I live in Fort McMurray Alberta with my husband who is also a firefighter/paramedic and our 3 crazy and beautiful boys. Hoping to have one more!

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Ergobaby is dedicated to helping families bond, grow, and thrive by creating premium baby products where function and quality are not compromised. Ergobaby has created a broad range of award-winning baby carriers, strollers, swaddlers, nursing pillows, and related products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably and safely. 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.

Disempowering Cesarean Followed by Twins VBAC

After a disempowering birth with her first son that nearly ended in tragedy, Erica vowed to have a different experience when she got pregnant again and planned to have an unmedicated VBAC with her twins. With the help of the Birth Hour, doulas, and a supportive practice after a switch of providers at 28 weeks, Erica successfully had the VBAC she worked so hard to get. As a black woman navigating the healthcare system, Erica is excited to share her story in the hopes that it may help some other mom or mommy-to-be.

Erica Beal Bio

Erica is an educational consultant located in Greenbelt, Maryland. She lives with her husband and three wonderful children, including an inquisitive (perhaps maniacally so) three-year-old and her 9-month-old twins that are starting to get into everything. Erica enjoys Rose, Netflix, reading, and cuddles on the couch with her hubby. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.

erica beal pregnancy

Resources

DC Birth Doulas (my doula group)
GW Obstetrics
La Vie Breast Massagers

8 Sheep Organics

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