Tag Archives: birth

Hindsight

Pregnancy is humbling. Labor is really humbling. Living in the postpartum and looking back on my pregnancy and birth is extraordinarily humbling. Many lessons were learned the hard way, but I think that’s the way many have to be learned and earned. Here are some rambling observations that I’m still dissecting:

 

  • Babies change everything.
  • Everyone says “You’ll never sleep again!” It’s annoying, but they mean well. They’re also mostly right.
  • Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, the baby changes it up. Example:

Monday: (bragging) Babby slept for 4 hours straight last night, then was up for a feeding, then asleep for another 4 hours! Life is good.

Tuesday: Babby slept for 5 hours straight last night, then was up for a feeding, then asleep for another 4-5 hours! Life is blissful.

Wednesday: Babby slept for SIX HOURS STRAIGHT LAST NIGHT, then was up for a feeding because I freaked out that she slept so long and then slept for another 4 hours! Life is blissful. Parenting is easy!

Thursday through End of Time or End of Sudden Growth Spurt, Whichever Comes First: Babby eats every 2 hours, day and night. She is also a catnapper during the day, sleeping in no longer than 1 hour increments sporadically throughout the day. Life is tired. Parenting is coffee.

  • Though my experience as a doula was invaluable before I became pregnant myself, I now can’t imagine hiring a doula who hasn’t experienced birth/motherhood personally. I get it now, on a whoooooooole ‘nother level. Not to say that a doula who isn’t a mother herself isn’t worth her salt, just that going through labor and birth yourself gifts you with a magnitude of empathy, compassion, and first-hand experience that completely alters the way one doula-s.
  • It took a solid 3 months to begin feeling normal again, or at least to feel comfortable in my new normal. I didn’t even fully stop spotting until Week 13. I still sometimes pee my pants. My maternity jeans are too big, my pre-pregnancy ones are too small; yoga pants are the answer.
  • It also took 3 months to remember I have a husband. Our first real conversation happened during Week 12. We now snuggle and laugh and are best friends again… but it took time, and it’s something we actually have to work on and make time for now. It’s harder, but we appreciate each other more now than ever.
  • It took 3 months to love my pets again. Oh, my poor sweet babycats. Thank god Steve is a responsible adult, because I forgot to feed them for at least 2 months. They went from being All Important to Total Annoyances for awhile there. I threw around the term streetcats a few too many times. Luckily they still love me and even love the baby who turned their lives upside down.
  • Increased breastfeeding retention and quality maternity/paternity leave go hand in hand. Period. I do not believe for one second that I would still be breastfeeding if Steve hadn’t been home for almost 2 months. Paternity/maternity leave in this country is shameful and affects every one of us who have been a child or a parent (see: everyone). Leave needs to be long, it needs to be paid, and it needs to be available to every. parent.
  • Now I have All the Motivation, All the Creativity, & All the Great Ideas… and none of the time.
  • Key relationships have evolved. Some for the better and some for the worse. Being judged for my birth story and parenting choices does not sit well with me. ALL births are to be respected, no matter what they look like. Fanatics on both sides of the homebirth/hospital birth spectrum would be wise to lead with compassion and not judgement or pity. (The pity is the worst for me… just because I had an induced hospital birth doesn’t mean I was traumatized or fooled into falsely believing my experience was beautiful and powerful, thanks. I could go on and on here… and I will! In a later post).
  • The bills just keep coming. One perk of this is that I no longer feel anxiety over money, which used to be my biggest anxiety trigger. Acceptance in these matters is vital to my sanity.
  • Breastmilk poop does stink. Maybe not at first, when kiddo is going 3 times a day. But when her Poo Schedule becomes once every couple of days… yeah. It smells. Like cheese. It’s horrible. “Breastmilk poop doesn’t stink” is one of those Whoops! Lies of Ignorance I told when I was doula-ing before becoming a parent myself. Very sorry about this one, guys. Oh, and while I’m at it I need to apologize for “Sleep when the baby sleeps” (really good advice in a perfect world, but not gospel).
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February Used Birth Book Giveaway

Click here to enter the giveaway!

I’ve discovered minimalism and it’s changing my life in the most amazing ways! I’m paring down my library and am offering giveaways during the next few months. Books will be gently used and will center around pregnancy, birth, the postpartum, and parenting. This month I’m giving away:

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This giveaway runs until 2/25/14 @ midnight. Please share with any doulas, midwives, libraries, birth centers, clinics, birthworkers, or pregnant women who might be interested! Visit the giveaway here.

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Had Baby, Life Exploded: An Update

To sum up the past many weeks of my writing hiatus:

  • We had a baby. She’s AMAZING.
  • Remember my dreamy planned home waterbirth? Well… after becoming high-risk basically overnight at 37 weeks due to Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension, I was medically induced in the hospital at just shy of 39 weeks. 12 hours of Cervidil, 15 hours of Pitocin, and a 2nd degree episiotomy later, baby girl was born! Labor was FIERCE, ya’ll, and I was able to kick its ass all over the place without an epidural or any medical pain management (which was a huge goal for me) and deliver vaginally (the other huge goal) solely because of the incredible support of our doula and excellent midwifery team/labor&delivery staff (and a bit of luck, who am I kidding?). I am living proof that inductions and hospital births do not have to be traumatic experiences that happen TO us, but rather empowering, positive triumphs that WE, the family, can create. I would not change a thing about our birth and am SO EXCITED to soon be jumping back into birth work. Birth story to come soon… you know, in my spare time (and there will be pictures because we had an awesome photographer!)
  • The postpartum period is no joke.
  • We experienced major breastfeeding challenges but overcame with the help of the most compassionate and kind lactation counselor on the planet. Her support was, in fact, SUCH a game changer for us, and SO powerful for us as a family that it has seriously impacted my focus academically and professionally- I’m now in the very initial stages of becoming an IBCLC and earning my degree in Maternal Child Health with a concentration in Lactation Consulting. I had never even considered the possibility of my life taking this direction before The Bean was born, but her birth and our story has really made my purpose and direction very clear. What could of been a very scary, mental-breakdown-inducing (I was but a step away from this in the first few days… more on this later) time turned into a challenging but doable, even joyous period and I can never, ever repay or thank our LC enough. She changed our lives completely.
  • I had no idea what I was getting myself into having this baby. Did I mention the postpartum period is insane? I actually thought I’d have time to write … excuse me while I laugh hysterically! (silently, of course, as to not wake the sleeping babe permanently attached to my chest). Abandon all hope, all ye who think they’re going to get anything done with a newborn in tow. Please do yourself a favor and just relax and love on that baby of yours and savor every calm moment, as this precious (and stressful) time is fleeting. Oh, and read this post from MamaSeeds: New mamas get nothing done (and other untruths).
  • I cannot even begin to describe how special and gratifying it is to be a mother. My little MilkFace has consumed and brightened my life in ways I never imagined possible! Getting misty-eyed, brb.

 

my buddy and me

New Mom Author’s Note: this post took me 6 days to write.

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Filed under Postpartum, Pregnancy