Episode 031 - Mellisa's Story: Stillbirth at 42 Weeks

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Many of you have been asking to hear Mellisa's story, and in this episode we finally share the devastating tale of her second son's stillbirth.  An intimate conversation between just the two of them, Laura and Mellisa re-live her calm and peaceful pregnancy, the day Rowan was born, and the aftermath of trauma and grief.

Mellisa doesn't shy away from baring all in this moment-by-moment recounting of the worst day of her life and how it changed everything for her.  She shares about going into labor, the unexpected midnight hospital transfer and how they hoped it was just "due diligence", and the redemptive experience of giving birth despite facing devastation.

We're so excited to share this emotional and personal story with each of you.  Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of Mellisa's story - including the details of her 56 hour labor with her first son and experiencing severe postpartum anxiety!


In This Episode:

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  • Having a miscarriage during her first pregnancy but not really grieving at that time; feeling like it was just the "token" loss
     
  • Getting pregnant again when her son was 3 and experiencing a very calm, content pregnancy
     
  • Going into labor just before 42 weeks
     
  • Feeling like she "knew what she was doing" in labor in comparison to labor with her first son
     
  • Getting to the birth center and her midwife not being able to find the babies heartbeat
     
  • The irony of equipment failure after equipment failure after arriving at the hospital and how they felt like it was all just a cruel joke that would soon be over and everything would be alright
     
  • The moment when the doctor finally confirmed there was no heartbeat
     
  • Having to decide between having a c-section or attempting to deliver vaginally
     
  • Finding out she was only 3 centimeters and being terrified labor would take days since it had taken so long with her first to get from that point to complete
     
  • Going back and forth between grief and being overcome by the power of labor
     
  • Holding Rowan for the first time
     
  • How the feeling of loss, of what you're missing, only grows over time, even though the pain lessens
     
  • The agonizing over whether to try to have another baby afterwards and how they made the decision


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About Our Guest:

Mellisa Reeves is a mother, doula, writer and co-host of the Motherbirth podcast.  Through her work, Mellisa's goal is to provide connection and support for women and their experiences of motherhood, creating space for issues such as birth choices, loss, anxiety & career balance.  She believes in the innate intuition that all women possess, and in helping mothers truly own and tell their stories.

Raised on a farm in Canada with 9 younger siblings, Mellisa was brought up with an innate love for simple, natural, rhythmic living.  Her perspective on life & motherhood comes from a slow re-awakening to the depth of feminine wisdom through her experiences of stillbirth, multiple miscarriages, postpartum anxiety and finding meaningful work.   Mellisa lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two kids, where she enjoys yoga, getting outdoors, the incredible food scene and a vibrant community of friends.

You can find Mellisa at Motherbirth exploring the transformation of motherhood, on Medium where she writes about her own journey as a mother, or on Instagram connecting with women.


Episode 028 - When Hello Means Goodbye (SIDS)

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This week’s guest Linda Takano shares her story of saying hello and goodbye to her baby boy Miles, all within his first week of life. We are so honored she shared this conversation with us and we ask that you respect her vulnerability as well as she shares about her sons passing of SIDS. {trigger warning}

Linda is someone who instantly makes you feel welcome whatever the setting. She is the type of woman you feel was born to be a Mom. She loves kids and always desired to have a family. Linda’s journey to motherhood has not been easy - after struggling to get pregnant with her daughter Jolie, Linda and her family lost twin babies.  When her third baby, Miles, passed away of SIDS, Linda was really at a loss with how to process this kind of grief. 

In this episode, Linda talks about her real-time process of losing her son. The difficulty of navigating saying good-bye and the logistics of losing a child were so much to deal with. She shares about her husband’s unwavering support and what is was like for her daughter to say good-bye to her brother.  Her raw and emotional telling of these events will open your eyes to the healing that comes when you fully allow yourself to experience loss.


In This Episode:

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  • Losing her second pregnancy with twins at 10 and 14 weeks
     
  • Finding her 3 day old son passed away from SIDS upon waking up
     
  • The horror of having to reenact the last hours of her sons life with a doll for the police
     
  • Her daughter asking if they could have a goodbye party for the baby and how this led to them creating traditions to help remember their son
     
  • The physical experience of grief after pregnancy or infant loss that amplify the emotional experience
     
  • How she learned that being outside helps her with grief and anxiety
     
  • Realizing that people comfort how they themselves want to be comforted, when we really need to listen and watch for how those in pain need to be comforted
     
  • The feeling of wanting our children to be remembered, not just our pain

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Show Notes:

Linda's Candle Shop

 

 


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About Our Guest:

Linda Takano lives in the Seattle area with her husband & the two kiddos they still get to hug & kiss everyday.  However, Josh & Linda would like to be remembered as the parents of Jolie, Silas & Miles. Linda finds a strong connection to people who know great pain & with those who have a hearty laugh. When the kids are at school, Linda gets her side hustle on by pouring essential oil candles. She finds this slow practice to be satisfying & therapeutic. 


Episode 027 - Medical Providers Choosing Birth at Home

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Maker of the Why Not Home? Documentary, this weeks guest Jessicca Moore shares behind the scenes of her own two homebirths and her extraordinary journey into exploring why more and more medical providers are choosing out-of-hospital birth.

As a nurse practitioner, Jessicca had been trained in a hospital setting and always assumed that was where she would give birth.  After the experience of a colleague who chose homebirth, she began to explore the concept for herself.  Getting comfortable with the research on safety and outcomes for low-risk mothers and babies, Jessicca chose to give birth at home, which later inspired her to find out why so many more like her were doing the same.

In this episode, Jessicca gets real with us about how her choice impacted relationships with family and colleagues, how she chose to communicate about it, and why she believes that homebirth is an option that all women should have access to.

Why Not Home? is a critical look at the options that women are provided with and how medical providers around the US and Canada are not only opening the conversation, but making the surprising choice of homebirth for themselves.  

We were so impressed when we watched the documentary - Jessicca and her team tell this story with compassion, careful research, and a generously held space for whatever empowers the birthing woman.  She is passionate about dialogue between different practitioners and birth settings, knowing that this has a direct impact on the care that women receive and even on birth outcomes.


In This Episode:

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  • Considering homebirth after a l&d nurse friend had her babies at home and inspired her
     
  • Husband born in a bush hospital in Zambia, so he was quite open to the possibility of birthing at home
     
  • Having to carefully navigate who and when she talked about her homebirth with as family and some colleagues were not supportive
     
  • Having her son at her second birth and making decisions about children being present
     
  • The frustration of getting to complete so fast with her second birth but still having to push for 1.5 hrs
     
  • Conceiving both of her babies from IVF and not having any more flexible funds to pay for an out of hospital birth as insurance didn't cover it
     
  • Family doctor friend offered to support her
    during her births, despite the liability of operating outside of her practice
     
  • Efforts to improve communications and systems between midwifes and hospitals and how Canada is making major progress
     
  • How healthcare reimbursement for birth services works and how having more midwives able to bill for their services benefits everyone
     
  • How Jessicca's documentary is creating a tool for communication between people on every side of the conversation about hospital vs out-of-hospital birth

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About Our Guest:

Jessicca Moore is family nurse practitioner, a filmmaker, and a catalyst for healthcare improvement. A transplant from the midwest, she and her husband make their home in Sonoma County California where she tries to keep up with her two children 6 chickens, and two sheep. The garden is neglected and she never seems to get around to doing anything with the sheep wool, but hey, nobody can do it all. 

You can find Jessicca and more info on her documentary here:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Episode 026 - Birth with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

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Kelly tried to get pregnant for 4 years before finally being diagnosed with PCOS.  After years of being dismissed by doctors, she and her husband finally had an answer to help them move forward - but it was just the beginning of their journey.  After a job change to allow coverage of fertility treatments, Kelly began a series of IUI's (intra uterine insemination).

4 losses later, including an ectopic pregnancy, Kelly conceived her daughter and struggled through that pregnancy to remain hopeful while feeling so connected to this life she was sure was meant to be part of her life.  Kelly shares the most incredible perspective on walking through loss and infertility with friends, and we think that her words are so important for any mama on the journey facing these challenges.

Lighthearted and joyful despite her painful journey, Kelly believes that spreading the word about PCOS and helping women advocate for themselves and their care is critical.  She is a beacon of hope that despite significant challenges finding clarity and support is possible.


In This Episode:

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  • Spending years and years with symptoms of PCOS and never being diagnosed
     
  • How everybody says "if you just lose weight your problems will go away"
     
  • Switching jobs so that they could afford medical/fertility treatments once she was diagnosed
     
  • Experiencing 4 IUI (intra uterine insemination) losses before conceiving her daughter
     
  • Dealing with the shame of your body betraying you
     
  • Finding both online and local support
     
  • How she and a friend made a pact that if one of them got pregnant first, the other got to call the shots on how they would interact
     
  • When Kelly felt like she became a mother
     
  • Making the transition from saying "if everything goes ok" to "when this baby comes"
     
  • What it was like to hold her daughter after waiting 7 years
     
  • Kelly's tips for managing anxiety during pregnancy

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About Our Guest:

Kelly Peters lives in New Jersey with her husband, their daughter Naomi, and a dog and cat.  She is a gardener, a former photographer, a student of folk medicine & folklore, a forager, a cook, a belly dancer, a sometimes writer, a Phish fan, and a full time Mom.