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Browse through personal stories and blog posts I've written for you about everything from how I handled three miscarriages, managing life as a new mom, tried and true tips for achieving a natural birth, and of course insight for the bad days because we all have them. 

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Pregnancy In Times Of Crisis

Updated February 3rd, 2021 

This pandemic started just a few months before my little boy Saverio was born and our part of the country shut down completely just a week after my sons birth which was almost a year ago at this point and to date NO ONE in my immediate family has contracted the virus so I want to share with you the things my husband and I are doing to keep that track record in tact. 

You have likely heard that COVID-19 is worse in elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions, but what about pregnant women and unborn babies?

Changes to the immune system during pregnancy mean pregnant women are often considered to be at higher than average risk for contracting infections. So as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what can you do as a pregnant woman to protect yourself and your unborn child?

Educating yourself is the best first line of defense. If I do anything well it is my relentless approach to research and I have found that since the first documented newborn in London became the youngest person in the world to test positive for the Coronavirus in March of 2020, pediatric cases have sky rocketed across the world. 

However, for the time being, it’s STILL unclear whether the baby contracted the virus in the womb or during labor. This means the best thing you can do for your baby is to be prepared for both.

COVID-19’s Impact On Pregnancy

So here is what we know about COVID-19 and its impact on pregnancy and newborn babies:
  • Pregnant women don’t seem to become more severely unwell from COVID-19 than the general population
  • ​Contracting COVID-19 so far, doesn’t seem to increase the risk of miscarriage
  • ​To date is no evidence the virus can pass from pregnant mother to baby
  • ​There is no evidence the virus will cause abnormalities in an unborn baby
  • ​Cesarean section or induction of labor does not seem necessary to reduce the risk of transmission from mother to child
  • ​Some babies born to women with symptoms of COVID-19 in China were born prematurely, based on what information is available though it’s unclear whether this was due to the virus or doctors’ decisions
  • ​According to the limited amount of research done, COVID-19 does not seem to pass from mother to child through breastmilk, so some medical professions are saying breastfeeding is still encouraged. However, the CDC can not confirm that the virus will not be transmitted this way. If this is a concern for you, contact your personal healthcare provider before making a decision to start or stop breastfeeding.
How does it spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

This could happen when you are in close contact with someone or if you come in to contact with previously contaminated hard surfaces.
Someone hosting the virus can literally cough or sneeze spraying the virus several feet. Even if you're a ways away tiny infected droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

What are the best ways to protect yourself?

It may not be the most fun solution but the very best thing you can do right now is to stay as far away from people as possible. By self-isolating you are dramatically reducing the chance of being exposed and thus reducing the chance of your baby being exposed as well.

Now I know this next one should go without saying but, wash your hands often with soap and water. Especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. 

Right about now you might be thinking “That sounds great Cheyenne, except HAND SANITIZER IS OUT OF STOCK EVERYWHERE!”
If this is the case for you, here is a great article on how to make hand sanitizer at home: 
Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.

Cleaning And Disinfecting

It is recommended that you clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. However, cleaning and disinfecting is something you should approach with serious caution.

Bleach and alcohol are the only household items known to kill the COVID-19 virus but both of these can be extremely dangerous to your unborn baby.

If you can, have a family member do the disinfecting and be sure to air out the area so you’re not breathing in the chemicals.

If you must be the one to handle the disinfecting limit your exposure to chemicals as much as possible b y opening the windows, and wearing a mask and gloves. 

How Could COVID-19 Impact your Labor and Delivery?

The reality we are faced with is that new protocols aimed to curb the spread of COVID-19 are going to continue impact those of us delivering babies for the foreseeable future. 

Here is a list of things to consider and plan for:
  • Travel has been severely interrupted which could impact the capability for family and friend from out of town to attend your birth.
  • ​Hospitals could tighten up their visitor policies so if you planned to have multiple people attend your birth such as a partner/spouse, family members, or even a doula you may be faced with new limitations on who will be allowed to attend.
  • ​With a shortage of toilet paper and paper towels could come a shortage of other paper products too such as postpartum and super-absorbency maxi pads.
  • ​Several hospitals across the country have started to send “low risk” moms and babies home at 24 hours postpartum when typically they would stay for 48 hours or more.
  • ​As a new mom, you could face postpartum depression and because of the necessity for social distancing, you may not have as much access to the normal social support such as friends, family, church groups, and child care. 
Try not to let these things overwhelm you. The best thing you can do is to reach out to your Doctor or Midwife to express any concerns or fears you have and ask what changes to your birth plan if any you can expect to have to prepare for. I also invite you to join the Modern Womb Facebook group where we have an ever-growing community of incredible women ready to support and love you!

Finally, there is a LOT of noise and miss information being shared about COVID-19 so be sure to get your information from legitimate vetted sources such as the once-daily scientific and global recap of COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. This is a short newsletter recommended to me by Tim Ferriss and it’s the only COVID-19 newsletter that either of us subscribe to. It’s not the only source of accurate information out there by any means but from what I can tell, it’s more reliable than 99.9% of what is being shared on social media.

Another resource that could prove to be extremely helpful is a short article I found regarding public health policies and how they saved many lives during the 1918 flu pandemic in St. Louis.

The 1918 flu pandemic has some serious similarities to COVID-19, including their fatality rates.

The birth of a child is an exciting and uncertain time all on its own. Throw in living under lockdown while a pandemic encircles the globe and you have the making’s for one very stressful situation.

It is so important that you know you are not alone in this momma…

If you need support, resources, guidance, or just a friend, reach out to me here: https://www.facebook.com/modernwomb/

The Story Before Our Birth Story

December 19th, 2019

Statistics are a funny thing.

Sometimes they make you feel better…
Sometimes they make you feel worse…

For me, when it came to miscarriage, I found out being part of the 20% made me feel both very alone and very connected to those sharing the experience.

Talk about a scathing note to start a post on… haha don’t worry this is actually a very, VERY happy story, however, the things that have made my journey to motherhood so powerful are all the trials I’ve had to face, all the walls I‘ve had to break down, and all the false beliefs I’ve had to overcome. Plus let’s be real, that’s what makes the story worth telling.

So, here is my one warning… if you are inclined to take this journey with me be prepared to travel through the darkest times of my life, but know, after experiencing it all I have become a woman I am proud to be.
 I know I deserve to be a mother, and I would go through every bit of that darkness again if it meant I learned the things I get to share with you now and have the son I so look forward to bringing into the world in just a few short months.

The journey is worth it.
Part 01 - It wasn’t like you see in the movies.

2018 was an incredibly exhilarating, joyful, and heartbreaking year for me.

The first few months I was living on a high like I’d never felt before. I had just accomplished my life long goal of traveling to Italy where the love of my life Brad and I spent three and half weeks traveling the entire country top to bottom and ended the trip with profound commitments to each other on the beaches of Maiori.

It was truly something out of a fairy tale.

After that trip I found myself realizing I had accomplished all of my biggest goals and dreams and now it was time to set new ones and I couldn’t have been more excited to do so.

The thought of starting a family though was not a decision my husband and I took lightly. We had actually started our relationship a few years prior on the premise that children were not going to be a thing for us for a few reasons. For me, it was something I had decided I didn’t want before I’d met Brad because by 24 I had already been married, lost two babies, and divorced which is a whole other story in of its self.

What’s interesting to me now that I have had time to heal and reflect is, I’ve realized not wanting children had nothing to do with not wanting to be a mother… I’ve always wanted to be a mother. The truth I wasn’t able to see at the time is I didn’t believe I deserved to be… I also didn’t believe there was a man out there I would trust to go down that path with, so I landed on having children of my own isn’t something I think I want.

Oddly, I am profoundly grateful that was my come from then because had I wanted children at the time, that could have really been a deal-breaker for the man I am madly in love with, and currently 6 months into carrying his son haha. So things do happen for a reason, at least I know they have for me.

I’ll never forget that car ride downtown a few months after we moved in together when I realized I trusted having a baby with Brad more than I trusted being with him for the rest of my life. Weird I know, but if you knew Brad Burnett you would understand…. The first thing I fell in love with was, who he is as a dad. Brad has two daughters and the way his children genuinely love and idolize him is something I personally have never seen before.

His children are his world and he would do anything, give anything, and be anything they need. He also never once has had a bad thing to say about not just the mothers of his children but ANY woman he’s ever loved… So at that moment as he was driving, I had a rush of clarity. I knew if I had a baby with this man it didn’t matter if we ended up together or not… my baby would have the very best father I could have ever imagined and I would be respected and supported no matter what. It was a thought I would have never expected, but I realized I didn’t need to know I would be with him forever to know that I would be proud to have a son just like him. So even with the voice of fear whispering “don’t say anything, you’ll scare him away” I told him, I told him I’d have a baby with him and today I am so happy I did.

Over the course of the next year, we had several conversations and our hard line on no kids slowing transitioned to I may be open to it, and then after that fairy tale trip, we agreed it was something we both wanted and I got off birth control.

I had been on the depo shot ( I do not recommend) for several years at this point and knew it was pretty common to have trouble getting pregnant for the first 6 months to a year so when I got pregnant the VERY next month we both were more than just a little surprised. Ecstatic, but definitely surprised. I started writing down my experiences of the pregnancy every week expressing thoughts, excitement, writing down new things I was learning and tracking my progress.

What I wasn’t sharing was a war that was raging inside my head….

I was so tired and so afraid.

There is nothing like a new pregnancy to bring up old fears from the past, I found out… and all the old feelings of loss bubbled up to the surface. I kept reassuring myself this is normal, it’s in your head, you’re fine, the baby is fine….I leaned heavily into my progress app, visualizing the baby’s development as it described and imaging the growth happening deep inside my womb. With every new update and notification, I couldn’t wait to share with Brad as I desperately tried to convince myself the fear I was experiencing was based in the past and had nothing to do with the present….

And yet… every day I had to keep myself from crying…. When tiny drops of blood showed up in my urine I started talking to my baby and saying, “you’re okay, we are okay” over and over again. I would cling to the same article I had found on google that said, “Spotting is normal” and read it over and over again…. but the feelings never went away….

We finally made it to the 8-week mark with nothing out of the ordinary to report. I was so looking forward to the appointment…. I thought if I could just hear the heartbeat my fears would finally fade. We had to wait another week before they got us in but finally, I was headed to the appointment, Brad right by my side.

In the waiting room, we filled out paperwork as new moms came in and out with big smiles across their faces. It felt good to watch them.
They called my name and Brad and I went back. The nurse asked if I’d had any bleeding and I said “just a little spotting nothing crazy” she nodded with zero indication of concern and after a few jokes where whispered back and forth between Brad and me, the doctor made it into our room and we began the exam.

From there, things get a little blurry for me as the three of us listened for a heartbeat but it never came….

The doctor calmly explained that everything had developed normally, except for the baby itself. The baby… my baby… had stopped growing weeks before, my body just hadn’t wanted to give up yet and was still working hard to create the placenta and store the needed fluid. I didn’t realize it then, but my will to carry this child had kept my body working diligently even though my body and my heart knew something was wrong from the beginning.

What a beautiful thing.

Walking back out to the lobby the girl at the front desk decided then was the best time to point out my insurance had denied payment and asked that I fill out more paperwork and pay. As I did so, fighting back tears, another woman well into her third trimester with a big smile on her face walked by and I realized for the first time…. not everyone comes to these appointments and leaves with that smile….
I wouldn’t be leaving with that smile.

After leaving the appointment Brad and I drove home. We talked, we always talk. Well…. I always talk, he always listens… and over the next few weeks, I consciously sat with the pain I was feeling and tried hard not to burry it. I thought I’d done well, even thinking to myself “maybe the third time going through this is easier” but I was shutting down… I just couldn’t see it.

Weeks went by and I tried to ignore my warm heart growing colder and colder as the pain started forcing its way into my daily life. I did my best to confront it with logic and avoid actually feeling but as I sat at the kitchen table one night desperately holding all my pieces together Brad asked “what’s coming up for you” those words… his eyes…. I couldn’t hold on anymore….I felt like chipped glass cracking one piece at a time as I tried to come up with words to answer him. Then, like a hammer on a windshield, everything gave in and I exploded into a thousand sharp and painful pieces.

This was a pain I hadn’t ever felt before. It was different than anything else I’d been through… it wasn’t just loss, it was colder than that… deeper than that… and my husband could see it.

He reached over and pulled me in close saying, “Talk to me kid.” But all I could do was sob. I stayed there in his arms until my tears finally ran out and I slowly began to collect myself. All I can remember saying is “It just hurts so bad”…..

Looking back now I realize I felt responsible….

The man I love changed his mind about having more children and chose to say yes to a baby with me and I had failed. I felt like I had one chance and that chance was gone. It seems silly now, but deep down I felt like a failure as a wife, as a mother, and as a woman. I was disappointed with myself, with my body, and even began to question if having a baby was really what I wanted again.

Over the next 8 months, I quit tracking my ovulation and we began talking about a baby less and less. I started to wonder if Brad was second-guessing our decision like I was…. but I was too afraid to ask since I didn’t want to hear the answer I thought I might get. So we moved on…. we focused on work and other things and settled back into life before baby.

Almost a year later I was faced with the realization that it was time to talk about it again and Brad and I needed to decide if it was something we really wanted. Alone, I sat down on the side of the tub and thought about it for a very long time….reluctantly landing on yes, I do still want this. Which meant I had to now muster up the courage to ask my husband if he felt the same and be prepared for if he didn’t…

Of course, he had gone through this experience too… he had felt the connection and the loss just as I had and he watched what it did to me so it’s no surprise he was also reluctant but said he’d been thinking about it as well and thought it was time to decide if we wanted to try again or not.

We were both scared… but he was on board. Yes, we would try again.

And just like that three short weeks later I woke up one morning and thought, “no way!” But I knew.

I knew I was pregnant.

That day I went out and bought a pregnancy test thinking to myself “you nut if you’re only a few weeks along this isn’t going to give you any indication so why in the world are you doing this” but I did it anyway and sure enough…. those blue lines crossed, indicating a positive test and I couldn’t help but laugh. Obviously, we were already pregnant when we agreed to try again.

Who would have thought? Haha

After laughing a little to myself and experiencing a brief flood of joy I paused…. my happiness dipped back down just a little as I thought to myself “do I even tell Brad? Or do I wait until after I can get into a doctor and know for sure it’s worth saying anything?….”

Thankfully my relationship has brought out the strongest version of me and I decided to march my butt downstairs pregnancy test in hand and said softly “Looks like we get to try again” holding up that little blue stick. He was just as surprised as I had been but a warm smile came to his face and I snuggled into him on the couch.

It wasn’t like you see in the movies…. It wasn’t a big celebration.

We didn’t jump up and down, we didn’t dance with joy.

We held each other… and hoped for the best.

A Husbands Perspective

March 16th, 2020

PART 03 — by Brad Burnett

So there I was…

Covered in motor oil and holding a set of jumper cables.

Oh…wait, that’s Jeff Foxworthy’s story.

This part of my story starts in a far simpler way.

This part of my story starts with a simple phrase…

No way. 
Or for those who want a little more detail…”No way I’m doing that.” “I’m done, and not about to start over.” Or…”I’m good!”

Anyone of those…hell, all of those, were comments that I made when I was asked if I wanted another child. When Cheyenne and I first talked about it, we were both a resounding no on kids.

And then we came together, and life came together and well…you know (some) of the rest. And if you don’t you can read all about it in Cheyenne’s first post.

She did a great job of capturing how it felt for her to go through the first experience of being so excited to bring a baby into our world. And then to learn the pregnancy “didn’t take” as the Dr so “clinically” let us know.

So fast forward to the moment when we became certain we didn’t want to just be passengers in this experience. We wanted to have as much of a say as we could.

For me, it really hit home when we were in the office at our second “big” check-up.

Not the one where Cheyenne and I nervously entered because it was the exact same timing (weeks wise) when we learned our first try hadn’t worked.

And this time as Cheyenne first heard that little heartbeat pitter-pattering. That pitter-patter brought tears of relief and joy. While she was looking into my eyes I could see the calm flow over her and I watched a single tear run down her cheek.

It wasn’t that time.

No, it wasn't the time when we heard the heartbeat for a second time (a little calming reassurance ;).

But the time we learned that the Dr that Cheyenne liked, the one she was building a relationship with…
That Dr wasn’t going to be the one delivering our baby because she was pregnant and due around the same time.

I suddenly found myself thinking what it would be like to be rushing into the hospital, Cheyenne in labor…
And ending up with a complete stranger delivering our baby boy.

I mean…a moment of complete vulnerability, where some person we’ve never even spoken to is in our birthing room, looking right up main-street (thanks Deadpool)…
Just because they happened to be on call. That’s not a lottery either of us wanted to be a part of.

In the car after that appointment is when everything changed for us. Cheyenne and I were immediately on the same page.
The thought of a stranger delivering our baby was very unsettling and gave us the realization that in the hospital…
We may have very little say in the way a lot of things happened during our baby’s birth…
And we knew for sure that we wanted to have as much of a say as we could.

We want this to be a beautiful experience (I mean there’s a baby involved so we’re off to a great start)…

But we wanted this to be extraordinary for mom and baby.

It was on that drive home that Cheyenne began her relentless research to learn everything she could find about what will be best for her and our baby.

She wanted to learn as much as possible about what will cause the least amount of stress during the birthing process for both of them.

And that my friend…is where I will turn you back over to Cheyenne for the rest of the story.

- Brad Burnett
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