Surprise Preterm Birth at 34 Weeks
Lauren got pregnant relatively easily at age 34 years. The early weeks of this pregnancy were marked by uncertainty and anxiety, after an abnormal result on the nuchal translucency screening in the first trimester. Non-invasive prenatal testing later showed normal results, and she was followed closely by Maternal Fetal Medicine during the second trimester with additional ultrasounds and an echocardiogram. At 27 weeks, Lauren was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which she managed with diet and exercise. At 34 weeks, she unexpectedly went into preterm labor. Her baby was born after an unmedicated labor that happened quickly toward the end (from 7 cm to baby in 30 minutes!). Charlotte spent 23 days in the NICU, which was stressful but the parents were thankful that she mostly needed to feed and grow.
Complicated Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes, ending with an Empowering Unmedicated Birth
Once Lauren turned 37 years old, she felt her biological clock ticking and felt a strong desire to have their second baby earlier than originally planned. Surprisingly (but thankfully!) she got pregnant on the first cycle after her IUD was removed, and suspected she was pregnant three days before she got the positive test on the early response test. This pregnancy was more medically complicated than the first – she had gestational diabetes once more, and it required insulin this time. She also had weekly progesterone shots from 16 to 36 weeks to prevent another preterm birth. By the third trimester, when she walked into the Maternal-Fetal Medicine office, the staff knew both her name and date of birth without Lauren having to tell them! Lauren did prenatal yoga, mindfulness practice, and lots of walking during this pregnancy. She also used her research skills as a professor to read up on original empirical research studies and ACOG recommendations to educate and advocate for herself. Despite this complicated pregnancy, at 38 weeks Lauren had a spontaneous, natural, beautiful, empowering unmedicated birth that was everything she wanted. Baby Madeline completed their family and Lauren is thankful for all she learned about her body and mind during her two pregnancies.
Throughout both birth stories, Lauren speaks about educating yourself, surrounding yourself with supportive birth partners, and advocating for yourself in a medical setting. She believes that it is of utmost important for a birthing person to feel heard, supported and valued by her providers.
Lauren Jax Bio
Lauren Jax lives in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania with her husband Steve and kids Charlotte (2015) and Madeline (2018). She is a college professor, and she teaches and researches about developmental psychology.
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler
- Expecting Better and Cribsheet, by Emily Oster
- Mindful Birthing, by Nancy Bardacke
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by La Leche League International
- Fertility Friend – app & website https://www.fertilityfriend.com/
- Charting Your Way to Conception – podcast
- Evidence Based Birth
- Simple Wishes – pumping bra
- Bravado nursing tanks
- Teresa Stewart Family Solutions
- Cloth diapering resources – https://fluffloveuniversity.com/ and https://www.clothdiapergeek.com/
- Can Do Kiddo – “Strengths-based development for babies, toddlers and parents”
- Wrapsody – babywearing
- Mothers Milk Bank Northeast
- Mindful Birth and Parenting Philadelphia – mindfulness education for birth, parenting & life (online from anywhere, and in-person in greater Philadelphia area)
- AnneMarie Hamant Portraits and Stories – birth, newborn, and family lifestyle photography in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania
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Thank you for having me on the podcast, Bryn!