Baby Sylvester Birth Story

Photographed By Megan Gulino

Unity Hospital in Rochester NY

2018 Better Birth Conference

WNY Doulas is a collaboration of five independent birth professionals who are committed to helping improve outcomes for both moms and babies. It is our desire to educate, empower, and lovingly support families to discern the path best for them as they are transformed by the miracle of birthing their child. We strive to provide evidence based information and up to date resources available during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. It is our goal and heart’s
desire to provide personalized support to every family seeking a better birth and postpartum experience, as they define it. We host the monthly Better Birth ConnectionTM to provide support and education to our clients. Each year we host the Better Birth ConferenceTM to connect families with prenatal and postpartum resources available in our area. We strive to work with the local birth community at large by attending workshops and events and providing support to other birth professionals.

2018 WNY Douas Better Birth Resource Guide© Do not reprint or copy without permission

2018 Corporate Sponsor

Catholic Health Women Care

 

2018 Exhibitors

BlueCross BlueShield of WNY
Corr-ERA Physical Therapy
The Fountain Wellness Center
Moonshine Studio of Photography
The Postpartum Resource Center Of New York

Stacey Austin Acupuncture PC
Baby’s Sweet Beginnings
Calming Nature Doula Center, LLC
Care Connection Lactation Center & Wellness Center

Creative Motherhood
The Gentle Parenting Institute
Gleason Family Chiropractic
Gypsy’s Corner Photography
Northeast Integrative Medicine
Pietrantone Chiropractic
Purely Pediatrics
Amanda Rayburg, LMT
Soma Cura Wellness Center
The Birthing Center of Buffalo
WNY Postpartum Connection
WNY Doulas
Yoga Parkside

Elena Birth Story

Midwife: Eileen Sewart  |  Doula:Monica Beback  |  Photographed By Megan Gulino

Birth Story Eamon Alexander

3/8/17 9:01 am 10lbs. 8oz. 22in

What was your overall experience of a home delivery ? Overall this labor and birth was everything I had hoped for. I think every birthing woman should have the chance to experience a home birth! It was such a fulfilling experience for my entire family, and I’m so grateful we were able to share it!

What did you do to prepare yourself for labor? With this pregnancy, I was very conscious about preparing my body and mind for a spontaneous labor and home delivery- so lots of yoga, stretching, walking, and exercise, in addition to self-care routines like baths, meditation, and naps!

If you could change one thing about your labor and delivery what would it be? I honestly can’t think of anything I would want to change!

What was the most unexpected thing during l&d?Most unexpected for me- when part of my amniotic sac popped out like a water balloon!! Lol

What was your husbands most unexpected thing during l&d?Most unexpected for Al- how well the whole birth team worked together!

What worked well to calm you during l&d? My Doula Lori breathing with me, reminding me to slow down without using words, just imitating good deep breaths.

When you first saw your baby what was your first thought? THANK YOU GOD!

Who Does he look like?He looks just like his Daddy!

Who was your birth team? Midwives- {Eileen Stewart and Natalia Caraballo} | Husband- {Alex Beback}   | Doula- Lori Gehl  |  Photog- Megan Gulino

What was your experience having a birth photographer with you during l&d? I knew I wanted a birth photographer for my next birth before I even was pregnant, and I am so thankful we decided to hire Megan! You wouldn’t even know she was there most of the time, yet she was always right there to lend a hand if needed!! Such a perfect balance and important member of our team. We’ll always be able to relive and remember this experience thanks to her!

 

Birth Story | Nora Grace Bell

Our Birth Story

By Jamie Bell

{Baby Nora Grace Bell}

A Unique Journey

I want to start by saying that every birth is beautiful and unique. Every story is valid and true. It’s also very, very personal. Every momma knows this deeply.

Your birth story is your own and mine is my own. Why do I feel the need to say this? I couldn’t help but compare the ideas that I had of what my journey would be like to other people. I hope that in sharing this story that you don’t compare your own experience to mine or even allow my story to influence your thoughts about your own. Every momma and baby is unique and so are our stories.

It’s honestly a selfish and cathartic desire I have to document and tell this story. If it’s encouraging to anyone, that’s an added benefit. So thank you for reading.

The Beginnings

Every birth story really starts with a long pregnancy story. What’s the deal, right? Pregnancy is 9 months and we don’t really think to include that story in the birth story, do we? Well, for me it’s a huge part of the story and the journey.

Since puberty I’ve struggled with hormone balance– not knowing at the time that I had PCOS. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is very common in the U.S.. One in three women struggle with this “disease”. Every woman struggles very differently with it since it’s a syndrome: some being estrogen dominant, symptomatic, non-symptomatic, testosterone dominant, etc. My flavor of PCOS is estrogen dominance, insulin resistance and lack of progesterone.

My husband Daniel and I have been married for 6 years as of September 2016. Year two of our marriage I made a huge shift in my lifestyle and purged our house of as many toxins as possible. I also shifted my diet to whole organic foods. I detoxed from birth control pills and started the journey of trying to manage my hormone balance issues with holistic tactics.

Long story, short – I was able to heal my gut (IBS) through the big changes and gain more balance in my hormones but not perfect balance. Yet, we could not get pregnant. We were not too intentional with conception but we certainly weren’t preventing it. 4 years and no conception was evidence that we may need more assistance.

I started to apply a natural progesterone cream each night for about 6 months to see if that would help. We also scheduled our first serious appointment with my OBGYN to talk through fertility options.

The appointment went well and I left with some conception instructions and a script to force ovulation. I took the weekend to think through our options and stalled to fill the script. I was due for my period in a day or so, so I could time the medicine with my next cycle easily in the week to come.

Monday came along with no period. I thought, “Well it’s one of two things, my cycle is off because of the PCOS or we’re pregnant.” In my gut I knew we were pregnant but I couldn’t believe it. I’d taken so many pregnancy tests in the last 4 years I could probably fill a small dumpster.

Dan left for work and I ran to Rite Aid to grab a bunch of tests. Sure enough we had our first positive pregnancy test! I was in such denial I peed on 6 tests throughout the day– the results did not change. We were thrilled with unbelief and excitement! What perfect timing and irony with the OGYN appointment.

Then I was horrified.

Pregnancy

Why horrified? Well after years of reading about fertility and hormone balance I knew that the most important thing for the first trimester and sustaining the pregnancy was progesterone – my kryptonite. I scrambled to schedule a doctor’s appointment and was immediately gripped with fear of losing the pregnancy. I mean truly gripped with fear. I couldn’t focus or function until I had a script in hand for sufficient progesterone.  My joy was vacuumed sucked away from me until I could get my hand on that progesterone.

I was able to get into the doctor’s the next day and I had a script to the pharmacy like lightening. Then my beloved insurance company refused the script. Apparently it was too high of a quality of progesterone that only specialists usually prescribe.

Side-rant: Really? I pay more than my mortgage a month for insurance as a business owner. I was livid and still horrified. *Beast mode commences* with a call to un-named insurance company. I had to constantly remind myself that kindness is much more helpful than screaming.

I was instructed that the script was under review by a special team and may take 48 hours for approval. The progesterone without insurance would cost $600+ (insert many expletives here). Oh and by the way I’m starting to spot a little. Yes, I could be losing the pregnancy already. The next two days were torturous and I felt like I was holding my breath. Finally they approved the script and I was dosed within the hour. I felt like I could exhale a bit but not truly until we reached the “safe” 12 weeks milestone.

12 weeks did come with much anxiety and I exhaled a little more but not fully. We had an anatomy sonogram at 16 weeks and something could be wrong after all. Well, the sonogram went well and we felt tons of relief but I still could not totally feel at peace until 20 weeks – half -way, you know? 20 weeks came and I could exhale a little more but not until our baby was viable at 28 weeks. You catch my drift?

I never really exhaled until 28 weeks and even then I had some fears about the birth. Not about the pain, really. I did not want a hospital birth at all. After many years of natural-birth research my heart was set on a home birth with a board certified nurse-midwife.

Midwifery Model of Care

We started our care with my OBGYN and after a few appointments, where information was presented as mandatory that we knew was optional, we decided to switch care providers. We wanted to partner with our provider when it came to important decision making for the well being of our baby and myself. We felt that my OBGYN was instead mandating and ordering us to do things that were truly optional like genetic testing, excessive blood work and vaccination during pregnancy. We knew that working with a midwife would provide us with a stronger voice in these decisions.

At 14 weeks we started prenatal care with Buffalo, NY based Midwife Eileen Stewart, with the goal of having a homebirth if the pregnancy permitted. At 28 weeks, we had qualified as low risk, despite being borderline gestational diabetic. With determination and menu modification we were in the clear for my “dream birth” at home. Funny oxymoron, I know now.

It’s really so interesting to have observed and received many opinions about how we wanted to birth. It’s such a personal thing, really. For the record, we were and are not ignorant hippies looking to endanger our child, like many an onlooker may suspect. We are two professional business owners, with college educations, who believe in modern medicine and the midwifery modal of care– like the majority of the world.

In spite of what the culture of the U.S. promotes, we knew that we would be safe and well cared-for with better mortality and cesarean rates than any local hospital. Still we were in the 1% of people in the U.S. to pursue homebirth.  Needless to say, we had lots of unsolicited advise from strangers, but our families were very supportive and know how OCD I am with research, safety and preparedness.

Throughout the whole 9 months we met frequently with other local pregnant couples working with Eileen at what are called centering meetings. Each couple would meet with a midwife for a physical exam and personal conversation about how things were going. Then as a group we discussed important topics such as breastfeeding, nutrition, exercise, etc. It was so wonderful. We’ve truly bonded with the other couples and have supported each other in achieving our natural birth goals. We have felt so cared for. I can’t express how grateful I am for Eileen and the team at Buffalo Midwifery. I’m so very impressed with the care they’ve provided.

The Fear

Coming into labor I had some emotional baggage named “fear”. I would say it was a hefty sized suitcase to be specific.

I still had the remnants of fear from struggling with fertility. We really didn’t know if we could have a biological family together and it always haunted us both a little.  There was the fear of losing the baby early on and the inability to trust that we would meet our baby girl. There were really deep-rooted fears of emotional safety during vulnerability from my far past – being a victim of molestation by a neighbor at an early age.

I also really struggled with fears about my identity.  I’ve always wanted to be a mommy, period. But after 6 years of growing and running a business together with my husband Daniel, I couldn’t envision how life would look with a baby. Would I be important anymore? Would I fade away into mommy land never to be respected or seen again by my peers? I feel embarrassed to write this but it’s really true. I feared losing my passions and meaning beyond “mommy”.

To top it off, there were fears around the unknown of how our marriage would and will evolve and change with kiddos. Will this be the “for better” or the “for worse”? I really didn’t carry fear about the pain of labor. This was the one area I felt like I could tackle. I knew it would be hard and the worse pain I’ve ever felt, but I just knew I could get through it. Emotional pain has always been the driver of my fears, instead of physical pain.

I’ve always struggled with fear. I think many people do. It’s been such a journey to understand my own fears, know how they affect me and which ones I continue to carry with me. They flare-up and rear their ugly heads during times of change and stress. And they’ve honestly made me an ugly person at times. I’ve always become overly self-protective and build walls in the face of fear. Luckily I’ve experienced a lot of healing through prayer. Not just regular prayer but intense, intentional healing prayer guided by a pastor and continued personally. It’s been a journey and I have far to travel still in this healing.

Early Labor

Fast-forward to labor day.

On December 14th, 2016, my mother’s birthday, I started to labor at 6am. The night before was a full moon – a super moon to boot. And the day of the 14th, a winter storm was forecasted here in Buffalo, NY. Some nurses and midwives agree that the weather does in fact promote labor – I like to think it’s true.

I woke to contractions at 6AM. After experiencing some contractions the week previously, I didn’t know if this was the real deal. It seems like every momma struggles with the end of pregnancy a bit. I was anxious and excited but trying to contain every emotion because, after all, it could be false labor. 

I focused all morning on my to-do list, to keep my mind busy. Somehow I had created a never-ending list of to do’s to prep for our home birth. Half of them were important the other half were comforting but totally not necessary: make labor-aid, wrap thank you gifts for the birth attendees, get the Christmas lights on the tree, make a birth playlist, make more freezer meals… This somewhat haunted me towards the end but also allowed me to focus on accomplishing small things instead of my anxious excitement to meet our baby.

At around noon, the contractions still continued and began to increase in frequency and intensity so I was thrilled to know this was the real thing. Our due date was the 16th according to my previous OBGYN and the 15th according to the sonographer– so baby was right on-time. It makes me laugh because I was not raised to be “on-time” (mom– you know it’s true) but since owning a business for 6 years, it’s a super pet peeve of mine to be prompt, even early for everything and certainly to be prepared.  Thank you baby girl – momma really appreciated that you were mindful of her time management OCD.

I labored on the exercise ball all morning and afternoon. Moving my hips in circles and bouncing. My mom and my step-dad John came over in the early afternoon to help around the house. They were also very excited an anxious to meet our baby girl. The company was so welcomed because the conversation and “to do’s” kept me busy. After taking 10 weeks of birthing classes and many sessions with our Midwife led centering group of expectant parents, we knew early first-time labor could be very long.

The weather progressively got worse as the afternoon went on and Daniel, my husband, called me at 1PM to let me know he would be going to a meeting and then coming home because the weather was getting rough.

Early labor was quite productive with making baby wipe spray, labor-aid, setting-up the birth pool, troubleshooting how to empty the pool, fixing the Christmas tree lights and making a giant lasagna– this all with the helping hands of my mom, John and Dan. Nesting in overdrive!

Call the Cavalry

We called our Doula, Beth Carey, around 3pm to let her know that labor had continually progressed and to coordinate her arrival to our home. As the weather was getting worse, she planned on arriving before dark: by 5pm or so. We sent a message to our birth photographer, Megan Gulino from Moonshine Photography. She would arrive between 6 and 7pm. We also sent a text message to Eileen to keep her posted on our progress as we continued to labor at home.

Ultimately, Beth would help us to identify the perfect time to call Eileen to have her come to our home for the birth. If you are unfamiliar, a doula is a non-medical birth coach and a midwife is a licensed medical professional.

My parents went home and Daniel and I were left to labor alone for a short period of time. We were both jittering with excitement. I was not sure how Daniel and I would truly partner together for this labor. We had taken a Bradley Method class that focused on husbands as birth coaches. We had built a business together with many challenges. We had overcome some big obstacles early in our marriage. I knew we were a good team in general but birth was a new frontier. Daniel was truly wonderful– the most supportive and attentive coach I could ever hope for. He truly labored with me every moment. I felt like we were a true team every step of the way.

Progressing Through Labor

We swayed back and forth dancing through contractions, I labored on the ball while leaning on Dan, I labored on the ball in the shower while Dan held my hand, I labored in the pool on my hands and knees while Dan was by my side, we labored in the guest bed laying together. I couldn’t appreciate the support while in the pain of the contractions but now I know how critical his presence was for me. It gave me such reassurance. We walked up the stairs with Beth and also did the side lying release technique to loosen my hips and position the baby.

In the early evening (around 7pm) my waters broke in the birth pool, as confirmed by Beth. This prompted Beth to call Eileen. Eileen would arrive a few hours later at midnight, as we approached hard labor and transition.  As everything intensified, we continued to labor in the shower and guest bedroom.

Beth made me raspberry leaf tea with honey to encourage labor along with diffusing clary sage essential oil into the dining room all evening. My Mom dropped off a sub tray, muffins, fruit and coffee for all of the birth attendees. The lasagna that was made earlier in the afternoon was finally ready and Dan and Beth were able to enjoy a meal before things continued to pick-up. I was not hungry but tried to stay as hydrated as possible with the homemade labor-aid electrolyte drink.

The Shift

Eileen arrived around midnight with her birth assistant Rebecca (such a beautiful kind-hearted young woman). We completed a vaginal exam to see exactly how far I had progressed.  She confirmed that we were half way at 5cm dilated, fully effaced and baby at 0. When I stood up from the vaginal exam Beth, Eileen and I experienced an unpleasant surprise. Some dark green fluid appeared. indicating meconium from the baby (meconium is the baby’s 9-month old poop). We were all very surprised and I became a bit frantic. Eileen reassured us that it’s not an emergency but it does indicate that labor needs to progress more quickly to reduce any risk to the baby. The risk being very small at 1% but significant, in its potential impact on the baby’s lungs if she inhales. Then the dreaded H word came up. Hospital.

With Daniel in the room, Eileen started to discuss the reality of potentially transferring to the hospital for the baby’s arrival so that the NICU could be on-hand in case the baby needed extra support for her lungs. This would be needed if labor didn’t progress quickly enough. With the bag of waters broken and the meconium present, the longer labor took the higher the risk for an infection for me, and complications with the baby.

The breath left my lungs. If there was one thing I feared most about the labor it was going to the hospital. I did not want medical interventions to induce labor because they often escalate to cesarean sections. I wanted to labor freely without being tied to a bed by cords. Eileen reassured us that she would remain our provider and advocate for a natural vaginal birth in the hospital but that we needed to start accepting that possibility.

I basically said “no”. I was in total denial and I was determined that labor would progress fast enough at home that we wouldn’t need to transfer. The clock was ticking and as long as the baby came in a timely manner we could have our homebirth. So we continued to labor.

The second vaginal exam returned great news. We’re at 7cm! Getting close to transition and pushing. I climbed back into the pool and labored for another hour. I felt close to transition with the urge to throw-up and the labors pains intensifying greatly. At one point I sat on a labor chair with Eileen and was encouraged to push a bit to see if it felt like it was time. Unfortunately it was not time.

Say What?

Vaginal exam number three.  Oh vaginal exams during contractions. Not. Fun. At. All. To our dismay Eileen reported that somehow we were now at 3cm. SAY WHAT?! No way. Not possible. I didn’t believe it. How were we at 7 and now at 3?

This was not good news. My heart sank deeply. This surely meant we would need to transfer. I was in so much unbelief I just kept repeating. “I don’t understand. How did this happen?”

In hind-site we think maybe the baby rotated in a way the affected the cervix dilation. Perhaps she took a wrong turn and needed to rotate around the long way. It’s a mystery.

It was perplexing. I had been laboring for 18 hours and it felt like we made it almost to the end. Well, that was no longer the case and it was devastating.

Eileen informed Daniel and I that she, Rebecca and Meg would be going home until we labored and progressed further throughout the night. Daniel and I would continue to labor in bed together and the plan was to get a second opinion from another midwife in the practice in the morning and then decide on a transferring.

Onward

So we continued on. I labored in bed with Daniel, on my side, for the remainder of the night. At this point it was around 2am.  I was able to fall asleep between contraction but would jolt awake, writhing in pain every ten minutes or so. Surely giving my beloved husband a heart attack. He told me after, that he couldn’t sleep at all. He was so worried about our safety the entire time. Our doula Beth, remained with us and rested in the living room. Later I found out that my mom and her husband John waited in a nearby parking lot, close to our home, in case of baby’s swift arrival. Once being notified of the stall in labor and the imminent transfer they remained close by, praying for us and could not find much rest at home.

In the early morning Beth reprieved Daniel and he was able to catch an hour of sleep in our bedroom alone.  Ginny, Eileen’s back-up midwife at the time, arrived at our home to check-in with us and provide a second opinion around 9am. After another magical vaginal exam, her opinion was to indeed transfer. We had dilated to 5cm overnight but labor needed to progress much faster because my bag of waters had broken over 12 hours earlier and the meconium still posed a potential risk. . We set a time to travel to the hospital– 3pm.

Hospital

Mom and John arrived at our home in the early afternoon. My mom packed our hospital bag and John helped to pack the car. We left the house at 2:30 and John drove us in Daniel’s car to Children’s Hospital. My mom led the way in their truck. Daniel and I labored in the back seat. When you’re in hard labor, car rides really stink! Every bump equals an intense contraction. That felt like the longest ride ever. Luckily we’re in WNY and everything is less than 20 minutes away.

Upon arrival, Daniel plowed through every person and obstacle at light speed to get a wheelchair and to get us to the room. We laugh now but he really gave a few people some choice words upon arrival. He meant business.

We finally made it to the delivery floor to be greeted by Eileen in her scrubs. We flew down the hall together and made it to our new birth environment. At this point I had accepted the situation and was feeling at peace about giving birth at the hospital. I was so engulfed in hard labor that my environment really didn’t matter at that point. Daniel, my mom, Beth, Rebecca, Meg and Eileen were present in the room along with our delivery nurses.

We got through the hospital paperwork quickly and continued to labor. I had to have fetal monitoring for 20-minutes and then could labor freely in the room.  And we had a vaginal exam to see where we were: 5cm again. Déjà vu.

After a few hours of laboring Eileen strongly recommended Pitocin to speed-up the progression of labor. In my mind I was screaming “No”.  In my research, many women who receive Pitocin can’t handle the pain of the medically intensified contractions and opt for an epidural. An epidural often results in baby’s heart rate being compromised which leads to cesarean section: a potential cascade. I wanted to avoid an epidural at all costs so this felt like potential failure looming ahead of me. I reluctantly agreed; knowing time was a very important factor at this point. The agreement was that the Pitocin would be mild. We started at “4” on a scale of 1-20. Within a half hour I could feel my contractions intensify but I could handle them.

The Wall

We continued laboring with birth balls (like yoga balls) until I reached 9cm. Then I was stuck. It felt like eternity but I was stuck in transition for 3 hours. My body could not progress from 9 to 10 cm. Thank you body.

I wanted to push so desperately and at times could not resist, resulting in some significant swelling of my cervix. I kept asking, “Is it time to push?”, “Why can’t I push”.  I looked like an insane person. No screaming but lots of incessant chanting of the words “open” and “wide” while pounding on the hospital bed rail. The pain was so intense. You’re consumed by it. Remember– no epidural and at this point we’re up at 9 on the Pitocin scale and at hour 34 or so of labor. All the while, my mom prayed over me constantly, quietly to herself.

At one point my eyes welled with tears and I called out to God in my mind. What was blocking me? I felt Him answer, Your fears about losing yourself. I responded: I surrenderI’m ready for whatever is ahead, even if I can’t control any of it. At this point I truly felt an emotional wall melt away. I could now walk through this birth without fear. I felt relief even in the midst of the greatest physical pain I’ve ever endured. Come to find out later, Rebecca, Eileen’s assistant, had sensed earlier in the week that I would face some spiritual warfare surrounding birth…when I found this out later it confirmed everything and brought me to tears, God is good.

Push

Eileen used her Midwife-natural-ninja-moves and with some holistic tactics manually helped my cervix reduce in swelling and dilate the remaining 1cm. This meant laboring with her hand inside of me – so much fun (not)!

Finally I was dilated and it was time to push.  I pushed on my back for a while so that the baby’s head could be guided past my cervix with Eileen’s help. Then I was able to switch positions. From our Bradley Birthing class with Monique we knew that the hospital bed has a squat-bar. We watched 4 or 5 births on a video with women using this bar. It looked so productive and makes so much sense physiologically – I knew I wanted that squat bar. Plus I had been practicing squatting low to prepare for birth for at least 3 months. Apparently it’s not a common request because the nursing staff took a little while to locate and install the bar. I was ready to do this and felt a burst of energy.

After 2 hours of pushing we were very close. The pain is so different when you’re pushing. It’s almost less painful and patient– moving the baby down through the birth canal. And then…the dreaded ring of fire. It’s true. It feels like a ring of fire when the baby’s head crowns. I was getting about 3 pushes in per contraction and then I gathered this other-worldly strength to push like a marathon running– 10 or so in a row without a break and our baby girls head and body finally emerged!

Arrival

Woo hoo! It’s amazing how at that point you feel no pain at all. I was squatting, looking down and inspecting my baby girl. She had a serious cone-head from the birth canal and wasn’t crying yet. She was pink and purple and Eileen and the nurses felt a little frantic while I was in ecstasy looking at her. Eileen, in the time sensitive moment, waited as long as possible for the cord to empty into the baby and cut the cord so that the NICU nurses could be sure her lungs were alright. The moment she cut the cord our baby girl let out a beautiful cry! What relief. What was 3-5 seconds felt like an eternity to hear that cry.

The nurses gave her a quick inspection and she passed with flying colors! No issues in her lungs from the meconium. Thank you Lord. I was in shock; exhaustion and hormonal baby love ecstasy (no tears surprisingly just focus on baby) and Daniel was crying in such relief and joy from the last 40 hours of worry and labor. December 16th at 12:48 AM weighing 8lb 1.5 oz. and measuring 20″ long, we met our baby girl on the outside.

We announced her name and Eileen handed Nora Grace Bell to Daniel who brought her back over to me before the nurses did anything else. Apparently in my foggy delirium of joy and exhaustion, I flopped her over on my breast and the nurses gasped a little. She was fine of course and we laughed later about how I was so enamored with her and exhausted all at once.

We had wonderful skin-on skin time and she latched pretty easily.  Yes, something easy– finally! I delivered an apparent gigantic placenta with very little pushing and had no tearing at all– just a small little gash inside that did not need stiches. After about an hour the nurses then measured her.

Recovery

After a few hours in the room we were to transfer to another room for our stay. I needed to get up and pee and cleanup a bit. Wow does your body feel very different once baby is out.

Something felt very weird though. I couldn’t catch my breath. My heart was racing and I was super panicked. I called-out to the nurse and she took my vitals. My heart rate was way too high both standing and resting. So I rested and Tonya, our wonderful delivery nurse, watched over me until my stats came down a bit.

We moved to our room and then a total on slat of testing came my way for my heart. I was SO TIRED. All I wanted to do was be in bed nursing my baby and sleeping and I kept getting whisked away for the next 10 hours for tests; breastfeeding vigorously in-between. 

2 EKGs, tons of blood work, chest x-rays, MRI and an echocardiogram later, I wasn’t allowed to shower for fear of infection and I was encouraged to take a round of intravenous antibiotics. In my head screaming again “No!” because I’d worked so hard on my gut bacteria “probiotics” to pass to Nora through the birth canal and I didn’t want her to get the antibiotics through breastfeeding and lose that good bacteria. Eileen reassured me that it was a good idea and important. Finally all tests came back normal… of course… and I could rest. I think I was completely and utterly exhausted but I’m thankful and happy for the thorough job all of the nurses and doctors provided.

We enjoyed the food service and helpful nurses for the next day and a half and came home Sunday afternoon.

A New Life

What a journey! At 2 months old today we’re above birth weight and still exclusively breastfeeding. It’s a ton of work and I’ve struggled with my milk supply, probably because of my PCOS. I’m supported by some amazing women and professionals who want us to succeed with breastfeeding.

I’m so in love with Nora and look forward to many more adventures together!

Here’s to all the mommas out there. Bodies striped with battle wounds and sleep cycles shortened forever. Our birth battles and nurturing love sustain humanity. That’s nothing short of miraculous strength and determination in the face of many fears.

– Jamie

Birth Team: Midwife Eileen Stewart {Buffalo Midwifery Services}

 Doula : Elizabeth Carey {WNY Doulas}

 /// Birth Photographer Megan Gulino {Moonshine Studio}