“Three Babies in Three Years and the Benefits of Hypnobirth” – with Jaime and Aaron Harris

Jaime and Aaron Harris join Dr. Fox to discuss the births of their three children, who were born about 18 months apart each. They explain the process of a hypnobirth, which is a sort of mindfulness practice to remain calm, relaxed, and positive, as well as their experience having two of their children during COVID.

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Dr. Fox: Welcome to “High Risk Birth Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman Podcast.” I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox. “High Risk Birth Stories” is a podcast designed to give you, the listener, a window into life-changing experiences of pregnancy, fertility, and childbirth.
All right, welcome. This is very exciting. This is the first time that we’ve had three guests in studio. We got Jamie, we got Aaron, and baby girl, all three. She’s just a few months old, right?
Aaron: Two months old, yeah, almost three months.
Dr. Fox: Wonderful. Amazing. Guys, thank you so much for coming in, all three of you. And so for our listeners, if we hear any like cooing or something in the background, it’s either me or the baby. You’re excited to come and tell your story, what brought you to that, that you wanted to come on the podcast and talk about everything?
Jamie: We are delighted to be here. So thank you for having us.
Aaron: Yes, thank you, Dr. Fox.
Jamie: We had such a great experience with Maternal Fetal Medicine. We recently had our third child, and we’ve always wanted to be parents. And once we joined your practice, started having children, we just never left and we wanted to share some positive stories about how we made that happen for any of your listeners.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. If we had frequent flyer miles, you guys would be doing great. You’d be like Platinum elite members, because three babies in three years, right?
Aaron: Yes, yes. We really accelerated the process. We had our first child and we really, like most first-time parents, are enamored with the child, we love the child, and we really wanted to bring in other ones. And we thought, while a lot of people sometimes wait a couple of years, we wanted to accelerate the process and between our first child and our second child there’s 18 months, and between our second child and third child there’s also 18 months. So a very condensed time period for all three kids, but the amazing thing is is the first child and the second child they get along so well, it’s almost like they’re sort of twins, and we know as the third child sort of begins to grow, and she’s right here, she is really going to have a wonderful experience with her two older siblings as well.
Dr. Fox: Did you guys sleep at all in the past year and a half?
Aaron: Fortunately, the two older ones are sleeping very, very well now, together in the same room, for 12 hours each.
Dr. Fox: Whoa.
Aaron: Yeah, yeah, we’re very fortunate, and our little daughter is doing quite well also. The first month was challenging but, we’re doing it.
Dr. Fox: I was at the third birth, right? Well, sort of, I was in and I was out. I also had to do my daughter’s visiting day that day, which was over Zoom, which by the way is an amazing development to be able to do camp visiting day over Zoom. Mia Fox, it was nice to see you on Zoom. That’s all we needed, and she feels the same way, I’m certain. But it was really cool. And then afterward, you know, we spoke and it is neat to have three kids in three years, and you guys do have an interesting and fortunately very happy story, and a lot to talk about and a lot to tell so, I think it’s great that you’re here. Thanks for coming in and taking time out of your busy parenting day. But she’s behaving beautifully, she looks good. Let’s start with before you had any kids, right? So where are you guys in life? What’s your story? You know, where you live in?
Jamie: Sure. So we are living in New York City. We both are graduates from the University of Michigan, so we had met post-college through a friend. So we got married…
Dr. Fox: Go Blue.
Jamie: Go Blue, exactly. So go Blue, and I would say a little bit older when we got married. So once we got married, we pretty quickly knew that we wanted to have children, so we decided to have children, and we had our first in June of 2018.
Dr. Fox: Wow. Was it difficult to get pregnant the first time? You said you were a little bit older, I mean, you’re not old, but was it tough, or was it pretty easy in the beginning?
Jamie: So the strange thing, so I’m a runner and I actually I’ve had irregular periods through running and stuff, so I actually had to gain weight which I know there are other women like that, and the doctor would say exercise less and eat more, which is pretty much the opposite of a doctor. So for me and it wasn’t fun to do that, but I just looked at the bigger picture that eating more is gonna allow me to bring a child into this world. So once I did that, it actually happened fairly quickly. So if anyone else is out there in that similar state, it actually helped all my hormones and everything and we got pregnant pretty fairly quickly with our first.
Dr. Fox: Right. And you’re a pretty hardcore runner, you’re not just like a runner. You’re a runner.
Jamie: Marathons, triathlons, yes.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, it’s good. Well, you came to the right place. You get to talk to Melka about it, we get to talk about it, that’s awesome. When was your last marathon? Have you done any since you started having kids?
Jamie: No.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. That would be serious, serious impressive.
Jamie: I haven’t even gone to the gym, in all honesty, so it’s really a setback. But to be fair, we walk, we live in New York Central Park, four miles a day with the children, so I’m still active. But yeah, I’m not…
Aaron: I think, to Jamie’s credit, it was really a mindset shift, where she was very restrictive on diet, a very, very healthy eater. And for us to go to our main physician, and she said, “Yeah, Jamie, you need to gain 10 pounds.” It was well, how do we change diet? And how do we go from not just eating three brown rice salmon sushi rolls to expanding the palette? And so, sort of when we had a higher purpose, it was very easy to sort of change that. And I think me being a cook, cooking the right kind of foods for Jamie, trying to make sure that she was eating enough, putting a little extra cheese in certain things, giving her a little bit more popcorn, giving her more food certainly helped.
Jamie: So Aaron is here because he is the best support, I’m going to talk about. Hopefully, everyone has support from someone. And I remember I told Aaron, “If I’m gaining weight, you are too.” Like, obviously, I wanted a weight gainer with me. So Aaron is just amazing.
Dr. Fox: I find that a lot of people who run a lot, myself included and Melgors [SP], are I don’t know obsessive is the right word, it is for some people, but certainly very good at plans, and details, and spreadsheets, and I have to do X amount of miles in X amount of time, and I’m gonna write it down. And, you know, runners tend to be like that. So, I would imagine once you had that task. Like, “Okay, I got to gain X amount of weight in X amount of time, and I have to do it,” you’re probably all over it in a sense, and even though it’s a shift, it’s just a shift in what you were doing, but probably the methods were the same. You probably were totally on top of that.
Jamie: That’s very true.
Aaron: We were. We were. And I think that’s an interesting point, is when our primary physician said this, she said, “Jamie, you have really changed your mindset and you gained the weight that you needed. I wish you could tell all these other women throughout New York City that it’s just temporary. That you just have to gain a little bit of weight, and the pregnancy will come, and it’ll be much easier.” And I think what I really love about Jamie is she has been a model of sort of the pregnant person. How to prepare for pregnancy, how to have a pregnancy, and she’s done all the right steps that the doctors have said. What you guys have said at MFM, what our primary physician has said, and that has made the pregnancy go so smoothly, from the nine months to even postpartum as well. You know, and that’s one of the things that I would say is, really listen to the doctors and listen to all of your professionals that are around you because they are an incredible support network. And that’s what we did, and that’s why we were able to have three kids in three years.
Dr. Fox: How did you find us?
Jamie: So I had a friend who was high risk and delivered with your practice, and she had told me about you. And for us, we weren’t…well, we’ll get into. There was a risk factor, but we weren’t thinking we were high risk at the time, but I just like the comfort of knowing if something happens, I’m with the best. So I feel that’s really how we found you.
Dr. Fox: But you were living in the city, right? So it wasn’t terribly inconvenient, was it?
Jamie: And also the location, it was right a few blocks…
Dr. Fox: Got it. That worked out. Okay, so your first pregnancy went pretty smoothly. You were able to exercise and sort of do what you’re doing during pregnancy as well. I know we would have let you, I mean, we’re pretty chill about that.
Jamie: I did. So, and I’ll point out, yeah, one of the gym instructors recommended that I have an Instagram page to show pregnant fitness workout just as hard and Aaron…
Dr. Fox: All right. Good morning. Welcome to the podcast.
Jamie: Good morning. Our daughter wants to say hello as well.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, she wants to say hello. She’s in. No problem. Okay, we’ll get her.
Jamie: I view this that, and hopefully some listeners can feel the same, I never viewed pregnancy as an illness or anything of that sort, so if anything, Aaron might come into the gym and try to lessen my weight. I didn’t overdo it, but I also worked out. So, and I think a lot of other people maybe have fears, and again, talk to your provider. But for me, so during my first and second, I worked out fully at the gym, during my third was the pandemic so I chose not to.
Dr. Fox: Got it. And then for the first pregnancy, everything’s going okay, was there any bumps on the road, anything that came up, or pretty much thankfully smooth sailing?
Jamie: So, that phone call that was, yeah, we had a phone call from Dr. Silverstein. I don’t think they even tested. I forget if it was at 12 weeks, it’s AFP level was elevated.
Dr. Fox: That was your second pregnancy.
Jamie: Oh, that was my second. So you know better than I do.
Aaron: It was our second. Yeah. I was about to say it too.
Jamie: As you said, maybe that was our second pregnancy. Okay, so our first, and I want to say I don’t think there were…actually, yeah, you are right. There were no bumps which was amazing, because I remember during our second, and we’ll get to that. When we had that, that felt scary because there was actually no bumps.
Dr. Fox: Well, we don’t like when people have nothing going on in our practice. So, I think we were a little annoyed that everything went so well the first time around and we couldn’t throw problems at you. So the second time we met, and we said, “We got to throw some problems at these people because they just look too happy. And so we’re gonna have to devastate them one way or another.” So we did that. We’ve sort of failed in the first pregnancy that we didn’t do that. I apologize for making it seem so easy. Yeah.
Aaron: Well, one of the things, and this is a big theme throughout all three of the pregnancies and Jamie will talk more about this is, the practice of hypnobirthing. You know, our first child, Jamie’s water broke at 12:30 in the morning. So it was a bit of a surprise because we didn’t think that that was going to happen. Our intention was to go the entire birth without any additional medicine.
Dr. Fox: Right, you mean like an epidural?
Aaron: Yeah. So that was sort of a little bit of a surprise that the water broke right in the middle of the night, and we had to go to the hospital immediately. So there was no opportunity for us to labor at home. So that was number one. Then just the second, it was a very, very long labor. And even for me as a first-time father just watching it, it was very emotional for me, because it is such a big process. And Jamie did such a wonderful job, and as we got closer and closer, five centimeters, six centimeters, Jamie got all the way up to eight and a half centimeters. And then, we just sort of all collectively made a decision that maybe an epidural would be the right thing. And that was fine. You know, we had said right before, “Hey, let’s go as far as we can. If an epidural is needed, then that’s gonna happen.” So, it changed our plans a little bit, but it changed our plans really for the better because it lessened the pain that Jamie was in, the delivery went very smoothly after that. The whole labor process was about 20 hours for our first child. So there were a little bit of surprises, but because we were so prepared in the hypnobirthing process, which Jamie will go into, we were ready for all of those little hiccups.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Tell us about that, the hypnobirthing. Number one, how’d you find that process, and explain to our listeners what it is, what are the tenets, like what exactly is involved in hypnobirthing?
Jamie: Sure. I think it might be more popular outside of the U.S., because the two friends who I know who did it are international friends, and they told me about it, and I was just interested in it. So I did some research on Google about hypnobirthing, and it sounds great, because I feel growing up, the media portrays all births as painful, and screaming, and yelling, and we didn’t want that. So this one, you could release the fears and have a joyful, calm birth. And we said we want that. So I googled and I found a local hypnobirthing instructor, Aaron and I went to the class, and I feel that… So hypnobirthing is really about releasing the fears, relaxing your body. And when you relax your body, then the lower area relaxes as well, it makes for a smoother birth. And for us, I did affirmations every day, I practiced breathing throughout the entire pregnancy, and really had a positive mindset looking forward to the birth.
As Aaron mentioned, we wanted to try to labor at home as much as we could before the hospital, but one of the affirmations says I accept what course my birthing takes. So meaning if your water breaks and you have to go to the hospital right there, then do your hypnobirthing there. So, I feel that also, yeah, I wanted to try to go without the epidural, but as Aaron mentioned, we were on the clock, for about 24 hours, they want you to have the baby if your water breaks and your strep B positive. So, I had labored naturally to eight and a half centimeters. And we were just kind of getting to that close to 24 hours, and I just wanted to do what’s safest and get the baby out. So I did that, and for us, it’s still a hypnobirthing, it doesn’t have to mean epidural free, it just means having the mindfulness to have the calmness and bring that into your birth.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I think that’s a really important point that…and I like that you mentioned mindfulness because that’s the buzzword nowadays. And I think people think of hypnobirth and they think that you’re gonna be in a room and someone’s gonna be like dangling a clock in front of your head and hypnotizing you, and make you cluck like a chicken and stuff like that. But it’s not. It’s this idea of being present in the moment, the mindfulness, and there’s different ways to get there. And for many, it is a way to labor without an epidural, maybe even for most. But not necessarily, meaning it’s not that they’re linked, that you have to do it and not have an epidural. And if circumstances change and you’re in too much pain or whatever it is and get an epidural, that doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned the hypnobirthing philosophy. And I think that’s great because some people really…that’s how they feel that’s incorrectly. But that is something, what you’re saying is very true, and I think that’s really important for the listeners to get that it’s not the same thing, hypnobirthing and having labor without an epidural. Those can be related, but they’re not necessarily.
Jamie: Even further than that, someone in our class did hypnobirthing, and something came up and she had to have a C-section, and she still used the same breathing and the positivity during a C-sec. It’s really beneficial whatever your labor outcome is to still have all of those hypnobirthing I’ll say tools.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, it’s mindfulness. There’s a tremendous amount of data on this in obviously people who are not pregnant, but in pregnancy and in all sorts of health situations, this idea of mindfulness is gonna help with mental health, it’s gonna help with focus, it can help with blood pressure, it can help with a lot of things maybe we don’t understand potentially, and I think that’s great. And so, you got the epidural but ultimately the birth was great. I think Miller did the delivery, right?
Jamie: He did. His farewell for…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. He delivered you, then got the hell out of town.
Jamie: He left us [crosstalk 00:15:44.775].
Aaron: And what was really wonderful was part of this hypnobirthing is, I remember, there’s the preparation, there’s the affirmations leading up to the birth. And then what we did is we created a vision board with different pictures, different affirmations, positive sayings. We had very calming music in the room. We had…it was sort of dark…
Jamie: We dimmed the lights.
Aaron: We dimmed the lights.
Dr. Fox: What pictures? Like Chris Webber? Like what are we talking about here? What kind of pictures did we have up there?
Aaron: Yeah. Pictures of places that we really loved as kids. Like Jamie had a picture of the swim club when she was a little girl because that to her signified a very serene, peaceful place. I think we had a picture…
Jamie: The beach from our honeymoon, a couple from our wedding. So all places that we would look at that and just feel love, feel connected to God, just feel different ways that we wanted to feel during the birth.
Aaron: Yeah, and I remember Dr. Miller walked in he’s like, “Whoa, this is kind of nice.”
Dr. Fox: Audiovisual.
Jamie: He said he wanted to come back because I guess other rooms had more chaoticness. We had a peaceful, it’s called “Comfort Zone” by Stephen Halpern, and if anyone wants to listen to it, just really soft music, dark, like it was just like a spa almost. It was great.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. No, people talk about the energy in the room, and it’s real. I mean, you can walk in a room and you can feel daggers being thrown versus soft clouds and cotton balls. And it’s a much different situation if you can get there, which is cool.
Aaron: And so what we were seeing before is, and that’s why we love your practice so much because it is realistic, it is calming, it is very holistic. That’s what we always really loved about that. And I think going back to what Jamie had said before, growing up we see so many almost terrifying images in the media, the mass media of what a birth is, and people are screaming, and the wife is saying to the husband, “Why did you do this to me?” And we really wanted to just flip that on its head and just say let’s do everything that’s sort of not that. You know, we already know we have wonderful nurses, wonderful doctors, let’s create an environment that is really welcoming, warm, so when this baby comes out, hey, he or she is in a very calm and loving place. And the hypnobirthing and the mindfulness extends way beyond the pregnancy.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I was gonna ask if you take that into your home or not, if you’re able to, because some people have a very calm birth, then their home is a disaster.
Aaron: No, no. I mean, and our two older kids, yeah, they’re toddlers, so they have their toddler behavior, but they’re very overall pretty calm kids.
Jamie: And they do breathing to regulate. They do. So either they see us do it, and I feel that babies regulate based on the parents, so that’s why they put the babies on the mom. So for us, I do feel that hypnobirthing really helps regulate their nervous system even through life, it’s called hypnobabies. And it extends through.
Dr. Fox: That’s so cool.
Aaron: When you have three kids, two are sleeping, but one is one month old and the child is crying, you look at that vision board again, you breathe, do all these things that led up to the birth, and just do it again. And that really certainly helps.
Dr. Fox: So after your first was born, was the second one a surprise, or did you say, “We’re doing this again”?
Jamie: The latter. Yeah, we said we’re doing it again. We knew we wanted to bring children into the world, and since we’re over 35, it happened quickly the first time, but we didn’t know if it would happen so quickly again. So that’s why we started early, really because my mind thought, “Well, maybe it’ll take a year or something.” And fortunately, I think…I don’t know, the second month, like it happened, we tried, you know, it happened so.
Dr. Fox: So you didn’t have to go on any special diet this time, because you still have probably weight from the pregnancy, and your body’s maybe a little differently after the first time around. So, and then the second pregnancy, since everything went well in the first pregnancy, was that sort of your expectation for the second pregnancy? That, “Hey, we did this, things went okay, it should be smooth.” I mean, obviously, hopefully, but that’s your thought. But you had the elevated AFP, so one blood test is abnormal, so that was a nice way for us to scare you.
Jamie: It was. And I think you guys eliminated that blood test at this point because it’s not even accurate. And our hearts were like shaking.
Dr. Fox: It’s not that it’s inaccurate, we stopped doing it but for different reasons. But yeah, for the most part, it would cause more stress and anxiety than it would be helpful, just partially because of how we do our practice, we do an ultrasound at that time. Anyways, it was intended to pick up a certain form of birth defect. And so for women not having an ultrasound, it’s critical to get it, but if you’re having the ultrasound, not as critical. And so that’s part of the reason we did it. But ultimately, did not turn into anything other than some anxiety over the test meaning there wasn’t the complication that it could have caused. And so, I assume you were planning hypnobirth for the second time around? Were you thinking of doing it without an epidural, or did you say, “Hey, I kind of like the epidural. I’m going to combine those two again.”
Jamie: I planned to do it without an epidural. The doctors in your practice said, “You went to eight and a half naturally on your first, you can definitely do it then on the second because the second is usually a shorter labor.” So totally planning, and again, you will see that that didn’t happen, but we did hypnobirthing and everything. But that was the plan, to do the second without epidural.
Dr. Fox: And so when you were in labor the second time, you said the first time your water broke, how’d you go into labor the second time around?
Jamie: Second time was the opposite, a much longer beginning phase of labor. I saw Dr. Melka that Friday, I was 39 weeks, and I was having mild contractions, but I wasn’t in active labor. And since she knew we wanted the hypnobirthing, so she said, “Go home.” So I came back Saturday, saw Dr. Aksel at 10 a.m., I was three centimeters dilated. And your practice is so supportive that we wanna labor at home, so he said, “Okay, go back home. Come back at 2 p.m., things will probably be moving.” I came back at 2 p.m. and I was still three centimeters, like “What’s going on here?” So I went home again. It was odd, I just kept coming back and forth. And then around 9:00 at night the contraction started to really pick up and Dr. Aksel said, “Okay, well, go to sleep.” And at that point, I couldn’t go to sleep because they were so intense. So I figured if I can’t go to sleep, and I didn’t necessarily have the energy at night to do the whole I would say labor at home versus if it was 9 in the morning, you have energy, not at night, you’re tired, you’re pregnant. So, we came in, saw Dr. Melka, she was with us at the beginning from our first two. At that point, I think I was maybe five centimeters, and we did decide to use Pitocin to augment things, and then we did an epidural as well, it was mainly because it had been going on since Friday, and it was at night time. And we still did the affirmations, the music, the darkness. So all of that we still brought to it.
Dr. Fox: Any new pictures on the picture board?
Jamie: We did. We put pictures of our first on it. So now…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. You got to update the board.
Jamie: We update the board. So now the board has baby one, so we can look and say, “Okay, this is what’s gonna come out.”
Dr. Fox: Wow. And then ultimately, you delivered with Aksel, right?
Jamie: Yeah, and you guys maybe threw some more at us to make sure hypnobirthing is working. I think we had it’s called a Category II tracing, I don’t even know, it’s something with the heartbeat…
Dr. Fox: No, that’s decelerations or something. Okay.
Jamie: Yeah, so they had a whole pediatric team and they were with us this time, so we had more guests than we had during the first. I think Dr. Aksel said that if we didn’t get the baby out soon, they would have to use an intervention, and I didn’t really want that. So I…
Dr. Fox: Intervention like forceps or intervention like a cesarean?
Jamie: I didn’t ask.
Dr. Fox: Got it. Fair. You just pushed hard.
Aaron: But as soon as Dr. Aksel said the word intervention, Jamie, it was literally like one of those images of the person picking up the car to save the child. I mean, Jamie, you know, and we looked at each other, and Jamie just pushed.
Dr. Fox: “I’m an athlete. I got this. I got this.”
Jamie: Exactly. Exactly. [inaudible 00:23:39] this is the marathon, this is the…
Aaron: And this cute little baby came out.
Dr. Fox: “It’s my last mile. I’m picking it up.” Okay, and so the delivery went very well, and you had your second boy. But, you threw us for a loop during that labor. So, why don’t you tell everyone about that? That was a fun day.
Jamie: At the beginning when you first come to an OB’s practice, you fill out a medical intake form, and I filled that out. And during my second labor, I was starting to feel my legs were warm. And so I mentioned to Dr. Aksel that, “I’ve had blood clots in the past, do I have one in my leg now?” And he literally said, “How did we not know this?” So I wanna tell all listeners out there that if you’ve had any blood clots previously, please tell your OB. For me, it was after I tore an Achilles tendon about a decade earlier, and I had a platelet-rich plasma injection and was on the birth control pill at that time which caused the clots. So, I didn’t realize until later that pregnancy is also adding hormones to your body and that you’re at a higher risk of forming clots. So, please tell your provider. And so Dr. Aksel will quickly put compression. I don’t even know what they’re called.
Dr. Fox: The brutes. Yeah.
Jamie: They’re very cumbersome. You don’t want them onto your labor if you don’t have to.
Aaron: But it’s not just the clot. I mean, if there’s anything that you remember from prior medical history, bring it up.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. I remember that so…
Aaron: It wasn’t that you omitted it.
Dr. Fox: No, no. Who remembers 10 years ago?
Jamie: It was a year ago, I was healthy. Right.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I remember that email so vividly coming through from Aksel saying, “Oh, by the way, Jamie says she had a blood clot 10 years ago.” Like what? Oh boy. All right, well, I’m glad everything worked out. See, your in a high-risk practice. Good stuff.
Jamie: Exactly. And that’s why we had the MFM console for our third to talk about the clots and the history. And we wound up doing before she was born, we did a test to see if the clotting was okay. I don’t know what you call it.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, just to check if you have any genetic predisposition. The fact that you were healthy, and thin, and had two uncomplicated pregnancies, we were sort of figuring that this is not likely to be a big thing. But we had to, you know, check everything out.
Aaron: So we had Dr. Miller for our first and Dr. Aksel for our second.
Dr. Fox: Right. You’re only picking the men.
Aaron: We had never met either one of them before. We had met almost every other doctor, but we hadn’t met them.
Dr. Fox: That’s how it works.
Aaron: And I think to that point is, just the flexibility that you have to have is so super important. Something’s gonna happen.
Dr. Fox: It’s on both ends because for you guys, you’re saying, “Wow, I’ve never met this doctor before.” And in our run, it’s, “Wow, I’ve never met this couple before.” And it’s the same thing, we don’t know who you are. I mean, who are you? What’s your story? What do you like? No. So Melka knows you’re a runner and the hypnobirth and she’s all over it, but then someone else comes in, they don’t know anything about it. And so, it requires a lot of flexibility. It is definitely one of the downsides of a larger practice. There are upsides that I think outweigh it, but it’s something that we sort of warn people about that. So either, if it’s really critical to you, make sure to meet everyone before you deliver. And if it’s not so critical to you, that’s fine too. I mean, we’re happy to take care of anybody whether we know them or not. But it’s always an interesting adventure when it’s like you’re meeting someone for the first time in the throes of labor. And it can be a lot of fun also to sort of develop that relationship pretty quickly.
Aaron: Yeah. And, I mean, everybody would love to be able to have start labor without the water breaking at 9 in the morning on a Tuesday when the full practice is there. But that’s just…
Dr. Fox: Yeah, we would love that too. A daytime delivery is wonderful on our end. Well, we’re okay with that.
Aaron: And each of the three pregnancies, there was something that, yeah, it was on the weekend, in the middle of the night, at very, very, inopportune times.
Jamie: Our second was born between Christmas and New Year’s, and I just kept thinking, is the hospital staffed? You know, is everyone on vacation?
Dr. Fox: Yeah. No, the hospital’s always staffed. We’re 24/7.
Aaron: And I think that’s, with hypnobirthing is just like that flexible mindset. My birth will take whatever turn it takes and I am comfortable with that. And that affirmation, every day saying that over and over again, certainly helps that mindfulness practice.
Dr. Fox: Did you feel the same way after your second was born about, “We’re doing the third like right away”? Was it sort of the same thing as after your first?
Jamie: We did and it’s interesting. We both come from a family of two, but once we had our first, we knew we wanted three children. It’s strange, we went from one to we love being parents so much, we wanna have three. So, we knew. So I would say after our second, same thing, we felt, okay, we’ll try this soon. And fortunately, it happened quickly again for us.
Aaron: I think telling everybody just the surprise of, “What?”
Jamie: Oh, we didn’t tell anybody else that we wanted three. Just… Well, two things. One, just in case it didn’t happen quickly, so we surprised our family.
Dr. Fox: You mean how surprised everyone else was.
Aaron: Yes. So here we have two little kids and, you know…
Dr. Fox: They just assume it’s an accident.
Aaron: Yeah. And we said, “Oh, yeah, we have another child.” And it was not.
Jamie: Our family members asked that. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Don’t ask people that question.
Aaron: Yeah. It was like the long pause.
Dr. Fox: “Congratulations?”
Aaron: Yeah. But it was not. It was very well planned.
Dr. Fox: And now, going on the timing here, right, this was in the heart of COVID. Was that something that gave you pause before making that decision? Because I’m just doing the math, if you delivered in July we’re talking about the fall of 2020. You know, I mean, all hell’s breaking loose in the world around that time.
Aaron: So just for context, so our second child was born at the end of December between Christmas and New Year’s. So he was three months old when March happened. And yeah, it was very, very concerning. He had a little bit of a breathing issue, so we were even more heightened because of all the talk around COVID respiratory issues.
Dr. Fox: Right. And who knows? It’s also brand new. Everyone’s learning what’s going on with it at the beginning,
Aaron: Yeah. So very concerned. But, you know, and we talked to a lot of people, we talked to your practice, we talked to other health professionals, and we knew, like really, there’s never the best time or the worst time to have a child, there’s a time. And we said this is our time right now, and even though we’re sort of in the middle of this COVID, we’re not gonna let that stop us. And because you never know what’s gonna happen. And it was more important for us to bring a third child into this world under any circumstance because that’s what we wanted. And we also in a sort of post-COVID world right now, we do feel that in sort of a way these kids are gonna be a little bit more resilient. I think our kids and plus so many other kids because of what we’ve had to deal with, and the flexibility that we’ve had to have. And from a very young age, all three of these kids are learning flexibility every single day.
Dr. Fox: Wow. No, I think that’s pretty cool. And was the pregnancy much different for you? Well, number one, I guess now you’re someone who’s pregnant with a history of a blood clot because you weren’t that person the first two times apparently. So okay, so that was, you know, a little bit this, a little bit of that. But again, we didn’t go too crazy with that, took a baby aspirin or something, nothing too remarkable. But now that you were pregnant in COVID, there must have been differences in terms of visits, and masks, and all that. Was that something that was difficult for you, or just whatever, it’s just, you know, roll with the punches?
Jamie: Yeah. I would say the biggest difference is I didn’t work out in the gym, and gyms started to become open at some point. And oh, what was very hard during the third was the decision to vaccinate, because at that point we didn’t have that much data yet, so it felt like you’re being a guinea pig, like well. And talking with everyone has a different answer. And, you know, family members are more risk-averse, and you don’t know why do this? And I think your “Healthful Woman Podcast” had one where you said COVID is a real risk and a vaccine’s a hypothetical risk. So it was, I think, stressful to make the decision. We got vaccinated, and now, fortunately, the data is all showing babies get the antibodies and it’s good. But I would say at that time since the pregnant women were excluded from the vaccine trial, that was probably the hardest part.
Aaron: March and April of this year was, I think, the most difficult part because that’s when everybody started to get the vaccines, that’s when people started to go out a little bit more, that’s when New York City started to open up. So when we first got pregnant in I guess October, everything was still closed down, so you could still feel closed in. But once March and April happened, there was a daily discussion between us. “Do we get the vaccine? Don’t we get the vaccine? What could be the potential impact?” But we said, yeah, we listened to the health professionals, and we made the best decision for us.
Dr. Fox: Right. And also, I mean, with your history of a clot, I would be much more worried about getting COVID even than somebody else, because that’s one of the complications of COVID that’s unique, it’s blood clots. And so, yeah, I think you made a good decision. And in retrospect, it seems to have worked out okay.
Jamie: And I’ll say for any listeners out there because Aaron says post-COVID and we’re still technically in it, we’re not in the heightened version, but I would say anyone out there who’s still thinking, “Well, there still is COVID, do I want to bring another child into this world?” And I heard a statistic, and it might be more than maybe 500,000 babies in the U.S. weren’t gonna be born that year. And for me, I kind of took it on. It’s so sad. We have almost a million deaths from COVID and then plus 500,000 lives not being born. And I just viewed it as, again, connecting to a higher mission. We want to bring more people into this world, so if anyone’s listening there, you can do it very healthy and safely with what’s going on out there now.
Dr. Fox: That’s great. And so, how did the third birth go?
Jamie: We maybe…we are sleep deprived [crosstalk 00:33:26.937]
Dr. Fox: I was like, “That was a long pause. I don’t think anything really too dramatic happened other than my daughter’s visiting day.”
Aaron: Well, the reason why, it’s because it was…I mean, there’s a reason why there’s sort of a pause. It was I would say what every birth should be. Fortunately, we gave birth in Mount Sinai. And when we came in, we had a room with a view of Central Park, which is unbelievable.
Dr. Fox: Room 32.
Aaron: Yeah. Unbelievable to be able to do that.
Dr. Fox: You had Rebarber with you?
Jamie: We had the all-star. So…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Oh my God. Rebarber.
Jamie: Yeah. And I’ll say one thing actually with hypnobirthing, really we got the labor that we wanted. I had been having contractions for a week, and we didn’t know when they were gonna really pick up into the real active labor. At 2 a.m. I woke up and I knew this was it, like they were really intense then. And we had my parents coming in from New Jersey to watch the toddlers, and Aaron was going to be very busy. So I labored at home from 2 a.m. till 6 a.m. with very intense contractions, and that’s where I used everything that I learned from hypnobirthing, breathing, different positioning, walking around, just really laboring from 2:00 to 6:00. And then at 6:00, I woke Aaron, I called my parents, and so for me the reason I did it’s, you know, my parents are a little bit older now, I didn’t want them waking up at 2:00 in the morning then having to watch two toddlers, that’s a long day.
Aaron: This is on a Sunday morning. Saturday evening, Sunday morning.
Jamie: Yeah. So I was able to use hypnobirthing to get to a good spot for Aaron and my parents to come in. And then at 6 a.m. I woke Aaron, and I had been having contractions for a week, so Aaron was just like, “Okay.” You know, but I was like, “No, this is it. I’m going to the hospital now.” And I just took my hospital bag and I went out to hitch a cab, and I almost like fell over because there…I’m like, “This is maybe not the smartest idea, just by myself.” It was 7 a.m. on a Sunday, there’s not many people around. So, I remember thinking, “What if I fall over on the street here.” But luckily a cab came. I got to Sinai, and then I think…
Aaron: Yeah, but just that flexibility, and the resilience. And, I mean, yeah, just get on, get a cab on Sunday morning at 7 a.m., go to the hospital.
Jamie: Well, I walked home from the first birth too, and I also wouldn’t recommend it. So sometimes I feel that…
Aaron: Well, that’s a benefit of living in New York City.
Jamie: Of New York City. We’re very close to the hospital.
Aaron: We walked all three of our kids home from the hospital. Just walked them.
Jamie: Yeah. So when I got there at 8 a.m., Dr. Friedman was there. I was at three centimeters. Aaron came because my parents got back from New Jersey. And then I would say it was maybe 10:30, I went, Dr. Freeman checked me, I was like eight centimeters, and that was exciting because my second labor I’d stayed at three centimeters for like a day. So that was really cool that the third pregnancy we went, probably because I labored at home so much, I went from three to eight really quickly. And then Dr. Friedman’s shift was ending, so Dr. Rebarber came in.
Aaron: No, she said, “You’re eight centimeters. By the way, I’m gonna be leaving now. I’ve been working 48 hours straight. You’re gonna have, well, the head of the practice and Dr. Fox take over.”
Jamie: Yeah. So you guys did a great transition. But again, I accept whatever happened. So she left, Dr. Rebarber came in. And I remember it was 11:30, and I was like fully dilated, like let’s do this. Or maybe it was 11 because I remember you had your daughter’s visiting day. Aaron and I went to camp. I’m like, “That’s so fun. I want the baby out before visiting day.” Really, like it was joyful.
Dr. Fox: We were discussing whether showing my daughter a birth on visiting day would be child abuse of some form, and I think we concluded yes. So I stepped out of the room for that Zoom call.
Jamie: Yes. And I think when you stepped out, our baby arrived. And…
Aaron: Yeah, and it was…
Dr. Fox: For our listeners, Rebarber was in the room. I was merely there for social purposes. I was not the one in charge there. I was like, “I’m gonna leave you right now.”
Aaron: And it was so smooth. Like I said, I mean, it was a summer…
Jamie: Sunny day.
Aaron: Sunny day, looking at Central Park, and we were joking around, you were making jokes, Dr. Rebarber was making jokes.
Dr. Fox: It sounds like us.
Aaron: Yeah. And…
Jamie: We had the affirmation board.
Aaron: We had the affirmation board.
Jamie: No, but Dr. Fox made that joke about Aaron’s grandfather, the fashion he was wearing like the shirt from decades ago.
Aaron: Yeah, we had an old picture. Yeah.
Jamie: Yeah, so meaning…
Dr. Fox: That he and I share a sense of fashion.
Jamie: Exactly. So here, keep going. But it was just this, and there was joy. And I just want listeners to know you can have that. Yeah.
Aaron: And, you know, the baby came out. It took maybe 40 minutes from 8 centimeters and…
Jamie: No from 10 to 10. Oh, from eight to when she came.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. It was fast. Yeah, I mean, it should be fast, the third baby. I mean, you put in all that work the first two times. I mean, you should reap the benefits of a third-time mom.
Aaron: And that’s what people said, you know, as the births continue, they do get a bit easier maybe. And it really was just a wonderful birth where the baby came out, and people were laughing, it was a nice sunny day. Amazing.
Jamie: You came back after visiting day.
Aaron: Yeah. It was just a very calm atmosphere. And like I said, I mean, it’s like what every birth should be.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Now, looking back, so here you are, I guess it’s a couple of months later, and you have three kids, and you have these three great births. What is it that you want our listeners to take away from your story, other than just the joy of hearing such a fun story?
Jamie: I guess for me it’s a few things. So I would say take away the mindfulness practice, whether it’s hypnobirthing, and really knowing for pregnancy you can release your fears, have a good pregnancy. We had some hiccups along the way, and every time we had them, we went back to that calming, the breathing, focusing. I feel where your mind goes, your body goes, so whatever you get thrown out during the pregnancies, have that. If you’re an older age, like over 35 for all of them, you can still have very healthy pregnancies, and during it, when you’re having any of those tougher moments that we all have, connect to a higher power, whether it’s God or what the reason you want to bring more children into this world, just something that will help ground you. And I think all of that will be able to make a peaceful delivery and a peaceful experience for you and your child. And again, any listeners who aren’t even pregnant, I think all of that applies just to a healthy life as well.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Aaron: Yeah. I would agree on all that. I mean, I think the other things we touched on is the support network, whether it is a spouse, a partner, family members, your medical professionals, just all of that, the more people that you can surround yourself with. I know that sometimes the more people you have, the more opinions you get, but in the end, I think everybody’s really looking out for your best interest. So I think that is really important, listening to your doctors, listening to the health professionals, really understanding why they’re seeing the things that they do. And I think also in this not post-COVID but we’re talking in fall of 2021, there’s so many things that are changing in this world. The great resignation, people are trying to connect more with family, people really want to have more time for themselves, time with their family, time with their children.
I think it also offers a really good opportunity to revisit the pregnancy journey as well, in terms of, yeah, having some of these hypnobirthing experiences, thinking about not just the nine months leading up to pregnancy, but sort of the post time as well. You know, working for a company or working for yourself that where you’re able to get more paid parental time off. Thinking about how all of those things, that holistic view of not just the pregnancy, but sort of the next nine months, the next year. All these things that make a really wonderful pregnancy, a really wonderful family, a really wonderful child that you bring into this world. So I think it’s a really crucial opportunity to rethink pregnancy. And I think your medical professionals, your friends, your family, can all help develop that with you.
Dr. Fox: Wow. Yeah, and if you have a history of a blood clot, please tell. Do share. Amazing. Wow. Guys, thank you so much for coming. By the way, she’s remarkably behaved for a newborn.
Jamie: A hypnobaby.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, that’s a hypnobaby.
Jamie: There she is.
Dr. Fox: That’s all good.
Jamie: She’s been awake the whole time and just chilling.
Dr. Fox: She’s just been looking around. It’s amazing. Well, thank you so much for coming in. It’s great to see you guys.
Aaron: Thank you, Dr. Fox.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, it’s been so much fun, not just today but for years, obviously. But today’s just a nice culmination of all this, to talk about it, and record it, and your kids can hear this, and your family and friends, and obviously our listeners. And your outlook, and your attitude, and just your perspective I think is really refreshing. I don’t want to say it’s uncommon, but not everyone says it out loud in that sense, so I just think it’s really good to hear it. And it’s a great lesson for all of us.
Aaron: Thank you so much.
Jamie: Yeah, our pleasure.
Dr. Fox: Thank you for listening to “High Risk Birth Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman Podcast.” If you’re interested in telling your birth story on our podcast, please go to our partner website at www.healthfulwoman.com and click the link for sharing your story. You can also email us directly at hrbs@highriskbirthstories.com. If you liked today’s podcast, please be sure to check out our “Healthful Woman Podcast” as well, where I speak with leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness. Have a great day.
The information discussed in “High Risk Birth Stories” is intended for information and entertainment only and does not replace medical care from your physician. The stories and experiences discussed in our podcasts are unique to each guest and are not intended to be representative of any standard of care or expected outcomes. As always, we encourage you to speak with your own doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan. Guests in “High Risk Birth Stories” have given their permission for us to share their personal health information.