Angela and her husband Rich had to put their plans to start a family on hold when Angela was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2016 at age 27. They underwent IVF prior to treatment in hopes of being able to have a baby later, if everything went well. After a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, and 3.5 years out from diagnosis, Angela was able to conceive naturally in January 2020.
After her experience with cancer, Angela wanted to have an unmedicated birth without many of the medical procedures she associated with treatment. She even thought that maybe birth would be the experience that healed her relationship with her body. Angela and Rich planned a hospital birth with midwives. In the couple of weeks before the birth, they learned that the baby was in the posterior or “sunny side up” position, but that these babies would usually turn during labor. Angela’s labor lasted 40 hours, 30 hours of which were unmedicated and the last 10 hours with pitocin and an epidural. The baby got stuck in the posterior position with her head turned to the side, and eventually Angela, Rich, and their midwife agreed that a cesarean would be the best option. Their daughter came into the world at 7:20 p.m. on October 24th via a “belly birth.”
In the days after birth, both Angela and Rich had a hard time recovering. Angela struggled with her posterior labor and cesarean birth being so different from what she had imagined, and wondered if she could have done more to make things go differently. Angela also faced challenges breastfeeding, since she was feeding on just one side after her mastectomy. They ultimately did “triple feedings” with donor breastmilk until Angela’s milk came in and the baby was steadily gaining weight, about two weeks after birth. She has since had a positive breastfeeding journey with her daughter.
Angela Hronek Bio
Angela, a five-year breast cancer survivor, spends her days working in historic preservation consulting. She and her husband Rich live in Madison, Wisconsin, in a 112-year-old house with their busy and smiley baby girl. You can reach her on Instagram @angelahronek.
- The Birth Hour podcast
- The Longest Shortest Time podcast https://longestshortesttime.com/
- Matt and Doree’s Eggcelent Adventure podcast https://eggcellentadventure.com/
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
- Youtube birth class videos with Holliday Tyson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7YucfJuziU&t=4s
- Livestrong fertility program for cancer survivors: https://www.livestrong.org/what-we-do/program/fertility
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.