Posted in Being a Badass Mama, Breastfeeding

I Finally Feel Like a Mother. (My Birth Story)

My birth story is fairly simple. An induction that went as smoothly as it could have! I was beyond excited to meet our daughter. She is my first child. I was scared shitless of labor. I literally had nightmares about it. So when it came time that Sunday evening to jet off to the hospital I was borderline puking. I made the hubs stop on the way for popcorn chicken and mozzarella sticks. So we added heartburn to the mix. We checked in and my nerves tripled. Once Cervadil was in place it finally hit me. We’re having a baby. I was all smiles. And then I remembered this pesky little fact..I have to push this baby out of me. Talk about buyers remorse.

So here’s where it gets foggy. I remember taking Ambien. And then getting injected with Nubain when the Ambien made me hyper. Then I crashed. I woke up at 7 am the next morning. Exhausted. Fully contracting and only at 2 cm. This is when it gets fun. They start the Pitocin. Holy hell. That freakin hurt! I remember being administered Nubain a few more times during the day. Each time I fell asleep immediately after. And I got emotional. Horribly emotional. I progressed rather quickly for this being my first baby. I had my water broken at around 3 in the afternoon. I’d say within fifteen minutes I was asking for an Epidural. Not because of the pain. But because I was scared of the unknown! I remember kicking my husband and grandmother out of the hospital room. My grandmother kept patting my knee and foot. And with the Epidural that felt horrible! At 5 I felt the pressure. I then labored down for two, almost three hours. At 7:45 p.m. I stared pushing. At 7:51 p.m. My 7lb 19 3/4 in baby girl was born. She latched right away.

I didn’t tear. I didn’t bleed a whole lot. Breastfeeding was fairly easy to master. And yet I feel so incredibly guilty. I am missing chunks of my labor. And what I do remember is terribly fuzzy. Because I was so drugged up, it took me almost a month to have that moment with my daughter where I fell in love. Instead when they laid her on me, skin to skin I felt nothing. For two days afterwards I was a robot. I nursed her. I stared into her eyes. I felt nothing but a void in my heart.

Breastfeeding saved me. It forced a closeness and a bond to form between my daughter and I. Even though my nipples cracked. And bled. Even though my breasts were as hard as rock. And horribly painful to the touch. Those moments in the first few months are precious to me. When I latched her on, and looked at her tiny wrinkled body, into her unfocused bright blue eyes; I slowly warmed to her. Each time we nursed I loved her more and more.

If I hadn’t breastfed, well honestly I don’t want to think about that.

My daughter is a healthy chunky 22 lb, 26 in baby girl. She is all about boobies. She still has those bright blue eyes, but now they’re focused on a million things at once. She sits up by herself. Throws her toys. Yells and laughs! She owns the house.

And I finally feel like a mother.

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Posted in Being a Badass Mama

Doctors (DON’T) Always Know Best

Doctors know best, isn’t that what we are told? We are raised not to question them. After all, they are the health professionals. To them we are the problem. The enemy. The woman who researches too much. Why is it so hard to find a doctor that encourages dialogue. That sits with you to answer your questions. We had that. We lost it. Due to my husband being in the military, we moved.

The on base doctor was a far cry for our civilian family practice doctor. Our original family physician was wonderful. He sat with me to figure out the vaccination schedule that worked for our family. He was incredibly well informed about breastfeeding and its benefits. He was supportive, accessible, and perfect for us.

Fast forward to the on base doctor. She waltzes in after we wait for what feels like forever. Sits her happy ass down at the computer desk. Doesn’t even glance our way. She proceeds to refer to my daughter as a male for most of the appointment. The computer crashes. She then seems to be lost. She asks the same questions over and over. Then she asks about the vaccination schedule. She passes the normal amount of judgment, quoting the CDC’s guidelines. Then, out of nowhere she brings up vitamin D. She tells me over and over that my breastmilk has no vitamin D. That I need to supplement her or switch to formula. I decline politely. After that I leave the room because I have to go to an appointment of my own, the doctor turns to my husband and tells him:
If you don’t start your daughter on vitamin D drops she will likely need a bone marrow transplant when she’s older. Or she will develop Ricketts.
Classic scare tactic. Get out of here with that. It gets worse.

A few days ago we took our daughter to the Pediatric Emergency Room at Johns Hopkins. (In retrospect we now know she was only teething, and she popped her first tooth the next day!) After a night full of screaming nonstop, no sleep, fever spikes, and a horribly congested nose we get in the car and go to the ER. The triage nurse was nothing short of amazing, we thought that was a great sign. With a screaming baby with a temperature of over 102 we settle into our room to wait for the doctor. Truthfully I have not a clue as to how long we waited for the doctor to come in, babes and I had fallen into a fitful sleep shortly after getting to our room. The doctor finally comes in, a very young woman. As we tell her our daughter’s symptoms she listens carefully. She checks Hattie out, and tells us it’s a viral infection and we caught it early. She is adamant that it could not possibly be teething, that the symptoms combined do not add up to teething. She gives Hattie Tylenol. She then asks about vaccinations. You can visibly see her attitude change when I tell her we settled on a delayed vax schedule. Immediately after I explain this to her she orders three blood tests as well as a urine analysis. Simply because my daughter isn’t on the normal vax schedule. At this point my husband and I have been awake for the entire night, sleep deprived I defer the decision to him. Not knowing any better, and feeling extremely pressured by our doctor my husband says yes. While waiting for the nurses to come in and do the tests my stomach was churning. I knew in my heart that this wasn’t right. My baby, six months old was about to have a catheter inside her to perform a test, that was beyond unnecessary. By this time her Tylenol had kicked in, and she was our happy baby yet again. Once the nurses returned she was laying on the hospital bed playing with them. As they picked up the catheter I started to cry and refused the tests. The doctor came back in, and used the all too familiar scare tactic on us. This time I held firm. I knew my decision was right for us. The doctor proceeded to tell us that breastfeeding wasn’t enough. That my baby wasn’t protected by my antibodies. That by delaying her vaccination schedule we were determining a future of sickness for our daughter. That by saying no to these tests, if by chance she had a blood infection or UTI, our daughter would die. Mind you, the symptoms for a blood infection, or UTI were not the symptoms my daughter displayed.

Breastfeeding is the safest, best option for my daughter. I know that by doing so she has much less of a chance of getting sick, or getting ear infections. Doctors should be supporting mothers. Not scaring them. We should be able to say no, without fear of attack. Standard of care should be a positive thing. Not something put in place to keep from being sued.

I may research too much. I do question doctors. I will not settle for mediocre care. Why? Simply put, I am the advocate for my daughter. Doing what’s best for her doesn’t just stop at breastfeeding. I am my daughter’s warrior.

Cheers

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