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!
Megan found out she was pregnant in November of 2020 and was immediately interested in pursuing a home birth, inspired by her sister’s three beautiful home births and a desire to learn to trust her body in this new way. Throughout pregnancy Megan received care through her insurance provided OB alongside what she would call the most wonderful homebirth midwifery practice, Meadowsweet Midwifery. Megan was so spoiled with her midwives, who at almost every appointment would speak to what they called the ‘symphony of heartbeats’ as they would point out the baby, Megan’s, and the cord all sounding through the doppler.
The day before her due date, Megan began experiencing labor waves picking up and had her doula come over to labor with her. Around 5:00pm her water broke quite dramatically and the waves started coming very quickly! The midwives arrived later in the evening, and Megan was still sitting at around 2cm dilated at 10:30pm. Megan labored in bed with her peanut ball and husband until 1:30 when she was desperate to get into the labor tub — after being checked and measuring in at 8cm after just three hours, the pool was a huge relief.
Getting in the pool, Megan began getting pushy very quickly and after just 28 minutes of pushing, delivered her beautiful baby boy Orson Zachary into the world on his due date, after just seven hours of labor! Postpartum recovery was more than Megan was expecting, but with a great support system, it was primarily positive. Orson is now 5 months old and the most magical person Megan knows.
Megan Stanton Bio
Megan lives with her husband, five month old son, dog, cat and chickens in Denver, Colorado, where she practices as an infant and early childhood mental health therapist and her husband pastors at a local church. Megan also loves to rock climb and teaches pottery classes at a local rec center, though all of those things are a bit in flux as she orients to life as a Mother!
Part II of this episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow has helped thousands of new and expecting parents discover the breastfeeding and postpartum essentials covered by their insurance including breast pumps and maternity compression and postpartum recovery products, they take care of everything – including all paperwork, working with your insurance company, and explaining your options to get these free essentials shipped straight to your door.
Aeroflow offers all major breast pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda, Elvie, Willow and more.
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 we sent you! Bonus — use the promo code “TBH15” in their online shop for 15% off all supplies and accessories.
Kelly shares her birth stories in episodes 639 and 640. Kelly’s birth journey began with her first pregnancy, which despite the long bout of nausea, was smooth and low-risk. She had a hospital induction at 40+3, and delivered her daughter after 36 exhausting hours of labor with the aid of an epidural.
A few years later and after a miscarriage at 8 weeks, she got pregnant with her second daughter. Though this pregnancy, like her first, was relatively smooth and low-risk, it was anxiety-inducing after her recent loss. However, after a lot of prayer, she felt at peace and eventual excitement for the new baby.
After the birth experience with her first daughter, which was long and not particularly empowering, Kelly knew she wanted something different this time around. After researching and listening to various birth stories, she decided she wanted a birth center birth. Her second daughter came as a result of spontaneous labor with her water breaking at 40+3. After laboring for 13 hours, though only 3 hours were active labor, Kelly got the water birth she’d dreamed of, and the empowering birth experience she’d wanted this second birth to be.
Kelly came back on the podcast to share her postpartum journey in episode 671 and had some great tips for listeners on how to incorporate your partner and the big sibling in bonding with a new baby.
Kelly Batchelder Bio
Kelly is 37 and lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband Steven of 11 years and their two daughters, Estella (age 4) and Pearl (1 month). She teaches English at Kennesaw State University for her professional gig, and teaches group fitness at a local gym for her personal gig. While both of those jobs bring her joy, the most fulfilling parts of her life are being a wife and mother. You can connect with Kelly via Instagram @kellybatchelder
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!
We used the Bradley method and really wanted a water birth but knew our birth center would only allow laboring in the water but not delivering in the water since it was attached to the hospital. Incredibly easy pregnancy. Water broke at 38 weeks to the day after a cervical check that morning and my body simply wasn’t ready. I was told at the 22 hour mark that if some progress wasn’t made soon, I’d have to start considering other options. I was devastated when the team switched over to the midwife I was least fond of since it had been 12 hours but that midwife added essential oils to my belly that finally started progression. After 24 hours of labor with a plateau (natural alignment plateau) after the water, a cervical lip and two hours of pushing, I gave birth on a birthing stool and delivered him myself. My placenta fell right onto the floor, he punched his way out and I had absolutely horrible tearing. Postpartum healing and breastfeeding were incredibly challenging and it was a traumatic experience.
Second Birth: Keogena Atogwe in 2016. Age 26.
I dedicated so much time and effort to making sure I learned how to push and to better prepare my body for labor through spinning babies, six dates a day, borage oil, red raspberry leaf tea and so on. I got really painful varicose veins and had placenta previa so the pregnancy was a bit more challenging, especially since my son was 11 months old when I found out I was pregnant. We moved late in my third trimester and I quickly found a midwife team and doula. I had false labor a few times and started to get so discouraged but at 39 weeks, went into labor and it was six hours start to finish. Relaxing worship music and focus were so helpful. She was born in the water and it was the most healing birth-exactly what I had prayed for. I had the teeniest tiniest tear and recovery was so much more smooth.
Miscarriage in 2018
Third birth: Zeameh Atogwe in 2020. Age 30.
I found out I was pregnant less than a month after my sister’s full term stillbirth. This pregnancy was filled with physical and emotional difficulty. Pregnancy after loss (my miscarriage and my sister’s stillbirth) and my first pregnancy with autoimmune disease made me really have to battle for hope and confidence. I was diagnosed with “irritable uterus” at 9 weeks which I thought was a joke, but it set the tone for the pregnancy. I had Braxton Hicks very early and contractions that would follow a pattern from 22 weeks. I kept hearing about precipitous birth at every turn and began to think it might happen for me. The pandemic hit right as I entered my third trimester and changed everything. Added so much anxiety and sleep became almost impossible. For the final couple months, I was waking up and staying up every night with Braxton Hicks and for the final three weeks, I had prodromal labor every single night. Sometimes my contractions lasted 5 minutes which I learned was my body trying to get the baby in position— the pandemic meant no chiropractor or prenatal massage which I had previously relied on. I tore my abdomen, my varicose veins were off the charts and I was just so deeply uncomfortable that I started to feel depressed and scared I wouldn’t even be excited to have the baby. The very day I expressed that thought, my water broke at 11pm. My parents came, I labored until morning and I thought I was going to give birth in the car. I went from a 4 to a 10 in about a 15 minute period. Labor from the first hard contraction to holding her in my arms was two hours. Recovery was a dream, she was a dream and I was back home three hours later.
Postpartum: pandemic postpartum was difficult and lonely. I felt so sorry my husband was taking care of everything and everyone. We also ended up getting COVID-19 when she was 4 weeks old and that meant we needed to be even more isolated which was devastating but I’m thankful to have walked through it.
Jill Atogwe is a wife to Oshiomogho and mother to Oshiolema, Keogena and Zeameh living in Dallas, Texas. She is an artist and lifestyle blogger behind Gold & Graphite and is always searching for the beauty in every day life. Connect with her via her website: goldandgraphite.com, instagram.com/jillatogwe or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Logan and Brian are parents to five, four girls and their newest arrival, their son Maverick Moon. This was Logan’s third homebirth and one of the goals was for the midwife to make it this time! Logan shared her previous birth stories on episode 441. You can listen to those here.
With a history of quick labors, and the fourth birth having only 40 minutes start to finish, the midwife and videographer arrived after the birth of their fourth daughter, Primrose, who was born at home unassisted. This fifth birth was a little different. It was the first time Logan went into labor without any natural induction methods, and it took a while before she believed she was actually in labor. So much so that she sent her husband to work only 90 minutes before the birth and he had to turn around on the highway to make it home only 30 minutes before Maverick was born! Unexpected, a tad chaotic, but everything turned out just as it was supposed to as their surprise Baby Moon was born only 12 hours after his Blessingway the night before. Connect with her on IG @loganrandazzo.
Today’s episode was sponsored by @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.
A few days before Jenny was 41 weeks with her fifth baby, she came to the Midwife Center to start a natural induction – pumping and walking. After a few hours, her water broke and her labor began. Her family was planning to be present for the birth as well as her two friends who were photographer friends, and her mom and sister. Everyone arrived and Jenny’s labor continued to become more active. During the hardest parts of labor she used toning and spent some time in the tub. There were no surprises until it was time to push and it was much harder than she expected. She realized she needed to push through the pain and when she did, Norma was born surrounded by her thrilled siblings. Watch the video from Norma’s birth: https://vimeo.com/203038501
Jenny Stein Bio
Jenny Stein lives with her husband and five kids in Pittsburgh, PA. Her oldest child is finishing high school and her youngest is in preschool. She gave birth to all of her children with the midwives at The Midwife Center of Pittsburgh. She has been a support person for friends while they were giving birth and also photographed births for families. She loves taking photos of her family life and also loves talking about family photography on her podcast, The Family Photographer. Connect with her on instagram.
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.