Lauren Barlis is a teacher. She got her start teaching 10th grade English in Baltimore County and now teaches other teachers and administrators how to build powerful effective partnerships with the parents of their students. She is married to a wonderful man who also works with her at Step Up For Students, an education non-profit in Florida that provides scholarships to low-income families who want to send their children to private school. She has a daughter, Josie, who is 16 months old. She is also expecting a son, Benjamin, in May 2016.
Today's birth story episode features Marissa Lawton who discusses getting pregnant with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and dealing with fertility treatments. Marissa is a military spouse and discusses the experience she had giving birth at a military hospital. She experienced vast differences between the day and night shift of doctors and nurses and was in labor for over 30 hours.
Marissa also discusses the anxiety she dealt with about infertility, about whether a fertilized egg would be viable, how many babies she would carry and whether her baby would be healthy throughout her pregnancy.
She also explains that her anxiety also caused her to make birth choices she probably wouldn’t have otherwise. For instance, she wanted a natural birth, and did deliver vaginally, but was induced (41 and 5) with pitocin and ended up having an epidural after feeling unsupported by some of the hospital staff. Marissa also dealt with a strong nesting instinct that manifested almost like OCD.
She was apply to rely on prenatal yoga to help with anxiety and practiced it all throughout her pregnancy and wishes she could have listened to her yoga training during labor including bodywork over what the doctors were saying that didn't feel right.
Daria Lazovskaya is sharing three birth stories, all of which took place in Russia. Daria was born in Siberia, raised in Sochi, and is currently living in Moscow. Her three children were born in Sochi which is more rural than Moscow, and I was very surprised at how birth takes place in a Russian hospital. Listening to her stories, it was like I was traveling back in time 60 years in the United States. Their approach to birth is very medicalized and institutionalized. There is very little attention paid to prenatal care, and the majority of women give birth alone with the medical staff and are generally not allowed to have their partner or another support person in the room with them.
Daria's did mention that there were more options available in Moscow and suggested that any expats living in Russia try to get to a major city like Moscow for their births. You can connect with Daria on Instagram @feedthezoo.
Kellie was planning a hospital birth with an OBGYN until 35 weeks pregnant when she switched doctors so she could give birth at a hospital that had better outcomes for mom's who want a natural birth. It also had a significantly lower C section rate. Listen to Kellie tell her birth story, in her own words.
Today she shares the stories of her pregnancies and births. Jessica had a great first pregnancy and birth experience. Her first birth was very fast with her son being born within 1 hour of arriving at the hospital! With her second pregnancy, Jessica experienced pre-term labor and had a cervical cerclage placed. She ended up carrying to term and had a cerclage placed as a precaution in subsequent pregnancies. Her biggest advice to pregnant women is to surround yourselves with positivity and she also also recommends waiting to find out the gender as that's been one of her favorite parts about her births.
Blythe's episode is pretty light hearted and will definitely make you laugh but I also think it's so valuable in that she wasn't afraid to trust her gut and go for the type of birth she wanted even though she had done things very differently the first FIVE times! I love how Blythe and her husband tease each other about how funny the hospital birth experience is after having so many homebirths. These two obviously really know each other on all sorts of levels and make an awesome birthing team.
Bailey Gaddis tells the story of her hypnobirthing hospital birth. She ended up uses the same visualization throughout the entire birth and sitting completely still and cross legged in the hospital bed which really surprised her since she'd imagined she'd be moving around a lot during labor.
Melissa Emler is a mom to three kids, Cooper, Addilyn and Conner and lives in Wisconsin where she works in education. She connects schools with the best and most useful tools available to them in the 21st century! Melissa also has a podcast called On the Vender Floor where she connects educators and entrepreneurs in conversations that positively impact learning.
Melissa's children were born in Iowa under the care of midwives but in a hospital setting. In Iowa all midwives who are legally practicing are Certified Nurse Midwives and many of them are providing care within a hospital setting. The hospital that Melissa gave birth at was set up more like a birth center than the typical hospital image that you may have in your head. It had a large tub as well as other comfort measures that aided her with finding more natural methods of coping with labor than typical hospital pain medications.
Melissa also practiced Hypnobirthing which really made a big difference with her births and kept her from even considering asking for an epidural.
Paige tells the story of the birth of her son. Paige was induced by choice 4 days after her due date, and after starting a Pitocin drip, things progressed rather quickly. So quickly in fact that by the time Paige was offered an epidural it was not really worth it to her. She trusted her body and decided not to interfere with the track that she was already on.