I would like to start off by saying that every birth is beautiful, no matter how you give birth.
But, I wish I knew what I know now about birth and breastfeeding. Why? Because I am now able to make decisions that are right for me (still understanding not every birth will go how you want it to).
With my first born, Cayn, I had interventions during labor. I was induced (for no medical reason), I received antibiotics for GBS and I had an epidural. I believe that having these interventions prolonged my recovery and negatively affected my breastfeeding journey as well as lacking a lot of knowledge on birthing and breastfeeding overall. My labor and delivery did not feel right to me. Having unnecessary interventions made me feel like I did not know how to give birth. We are meant to give birth!
When I became pregnant with Naomi I knew I wanted to do things differently. I went with a midwife instead of an OB; which turns out it does not matter which one you choose to have, what matters is the relationship you have with them and that they want to give you, and respect the birth experience you are choosing to have.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed so I did my research. I read a few books and watched a few documentaries. My favorite book is Ina May,s Guide to Child Birth, and must watch documentaries are The Business of Being Born and The Milky Way! Through that I discovered interventions CAN affect breastfeeding, and every”BODY” is different. I have friends who have had more interventions than me and had great breastfeeding experiences. Breastfeeding made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers is my absolute favorite breastfeeding book! It’s to the point, easy to read, packed full of facts and knowledge and it really gave me the confidence I needed to have to be successful. You and your baby have to learn to breastfeed, babies are hard wired to breastfeed but that does not mean they know how, it’s a learning process.
Breastfeeding was my main goal.
I wanted to hire a lactation consultant beforehand and found Simone on Facebook. As a doula she is the WHOLE package! She did my placenta encapsulation, she is a lactation counselor, she offers birthing classes in the comfort of your own home and she is there with you your entire labor! We met and we connected instantly. I have such a great bond with her, she was really there for me for the rest of my pregnancy, especially when my midwife was not. I could call her and text her at any time. She answered my questions, she gave me information and tools on how to have the birth experience I wanted. I think a lot of people have a misconception of a doula; having one doesn’t mean you’re forced to give birth naturally, it means that they support you no matter what kind of birth you have and if you decide to breastfeed or formula feed they are your support. I wanted to test negative for GBS this pregnancy and after being told that because I had tested positive with Cayn I would for sure test positive with Naomi, I did some research on that as well. I ate a ton of fermented foods and did some over the top things up until I went into labor and gratefully, I tested negative.
At this point I was almost 2 weeks over due at 4.5cm dilated. Simone helped me in those long days, my mind thinking my body had failed me. She came to my house and she did some techniques to try and help me go into labor. She helped me to relax. I was scheduled to be induced twice, and feeling very frustrated, I refocused me energy and rescheduled it.
The night before I was supposed to be induced my labor started (41 weeks & 5 days), and it started QUICKLY! My water was leaking for about 3 hours. I thought it was just discharge until I kept having to change my underwear and pants. I was having small consistent contractions two days prior but nothing unbearable, I could barely feel them. I am going to thank all the red raspberry leaf tea for that! I was texting Simone when I asked her if it could be my water leaking and she had me do a couple things to make sure it was. She told me I could go in to L&D and they could test it or I could just wait at home, so I did. A little before 9pm I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I called Simone crying (I totally forgot about my bloody show) and she reassured me this was great news and told me labor will be starting soon so I should try and get plenty of rest. I showered and that’s when my contractions really started, right on top of each other. My husband called Simone 10 minutes later and she arrived quickly (thankfully she lived around the corner). Soon after she arrived, I told Simone I needed to go to the bathroom, that I felt like pushing and she said we needed to go to the hospital. My husband, mother-in-law and Cayn all piled into the car at about 9:20pm.
There always has to be a little drama, and that night Justin tried getting off base through the gate that was closed, and once we arrived to the hospital I walked a painful 50ft to the front door of the hospital which was also, luckily for me, closed. I of course screamed for the epidural when I got there but it was too late, and even though I was scheduled to be there the following morning no one could find my file for what seemed like forever! This part of labor was brutal. I had Simone there whispering positive things to me. She not only supported me, but my husband who had no idea what he was doing despite all of Simone’s training. After 3 pushes Naomi was born at 10:42pm, 6lbs 13oz, 19 1/4in long. I listened to my body, pushed when I was ready and I didn’t tear! (3rd degree tear with Cayn)!!!
Recovery was amazing this time around! I had the placenta encapsulation to thank for that. My mood was great and I did not experience the baby blues. The first two weeks of bf was hard, really hard. Cracked and bleeding nipples, painful engorgement but I just kept telling myself “there is no other option”, NO supplementing. There was a huge difference with Cayn and Naomi after birth. Cayn was VERY sleepy, it was so hard for me to wake him up to eat. Naomi was alert and ate frequently, I never had to wake her up in the hospital. She was tongue tied, which Simone and I saw right away after she was born, but we did not get it fixed until she was two weeks old from an ENT doctor because that’s the soonest he had available. I just kept re-latching her and watched a ton of Youtube videos on different techniques until one of my closest friends told me if it doesn’t hurt and she is sucking and swallowing who cares how it looks? Best advice! I had my rougher days of course. I had a total breakdown one afternoon and told my husband he had to take emergency leave (vacation) now! Naomi was cluster feeding all day and Cayn was screaming to the point I felt like my brain was going to explode. After her tongue tie was clipped we had to learn again how to breastfeed as well as do some tongue workouts before every feed (12 times a day). We are now going on 7 months exclusively breastfeeding!
I have to thank Simone so much for her support and help. I wish I had known about a doula with my first pregnancy. I feel like, as first-time moms, we don’t want to know and we tend to listen to whatever our OB or Midwife suggests instead of knowing the facts and choosing for ourselves what works best for me and my baby.
Brittnee and her husband Justin own an Etsy shop, The Lokey Life by Wagoner https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLokeyLife. They make hand crafted home decor, wood signs and more! Please check them out and enjoy 10% off your first purchase using the code QUEENCITYBIRTH