I've written a lot about my first two births and how much they impacted me and shaped me. I had so much to learn and it was a constant flow of new age stages, things I'd never experienced and very little guidance on how to grow these little humans.
Pregnancy #3 would come in a very difficult time of my life. So many changes happened in such a short period of time and life completely shifted in a direction I was not prepared for. I found myself with two littles, one on the way and I was only 26 years old. What I did not have in money or stability, I thought I was going to make up in other areas like breastfeeding and more attachment style parenting.
I didn't find out I was pregnant until I was 11 weeks along. It came as a stark, cold declaration as I laid in an ER with some type of virus that ended in a four day hospital stay. "By the way, you're pregnant," was all I got. Not exactly your Instagram worthy announcement.
"By the way.....you're pregnant."
After recovering from that illness, the pregnancy was really smoothe. Life was tough, but we made the best of it at times and just dealt with it at others. (For my adult children's sake, I'm leaving a lot of details out privacy reasons). After the first trimester, I have always enjoyed being pregnant. I love how it made me feel to be growing a life inside of me. This one was no different in that aspect. I adored this little babe. And I adored learning new aspects of pregnancy and parenting that seemed to be more on the natural side of things than what I had always read in the past. Think beyond "What to Expect When You're Expecting".
This, my friends, is what happens when you think you can pull off a Meg Ryan cut when you are clearly not Meg Ryan. Don't ever try this. But how sweet are these little guys?
Even though a natural childbirth still seemed like something archaic and not anything I was interested in, I was exploring anything and everything I could do to have a more successful breastfeeding experience than I did previously. Let me clarify that my use of "natural birth" is what I used then and the only term I knew for a vaginal, non medicated birth. Now, we are clear to explain to new moms that any way you birth is natural birth. Birth is natural. There is no right or wrong, natural or unnatural way to birth, only your way.
True to my body, I went over my due date and the only complication I had so far was being diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the third trimester. I managed it with my diet and thankfully did not have to take insulin. My doctor scheduled me for an induction but this time there was a new product that would be used first to ripen my cervix. Prostaglandin E gel.
The use of cervical ripening agents such as Prostagladin E, Cervidil (dinoprostone) or Cytotec (misoprostol) is indicated for a firm cervix several hours before starting pitocin to increase the favorability of the cervix and ultimately a successful induction. Even though there is success with these methods, they do not come without risks and I encourage you to research each of them for the pros and cons, risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision when a provider is suggesting their use. An up and coming more natural method that is gaining a lot of attention, is the use of the foley catheter bulb. Best used when a cervix is 1-2 cm dilated, the provider inserts the catheter into the cervix and fills with water gently stretching the cervical opening. The catheter is then left in place and many times also comes with some moderate contractions. Once the cervix is dilated to approximately 5 cm, the catheter literally just falls out. I've seen this work wonderfully and even though it comes with some uncomfortability, it is prefered over the pharmaceutical route due to the decreased risks associated with it.
Thankfully, this worked very well for me without complications and once the pitocin was started the next morning, the contractions came quick and strong. And you know, since it was still all I knew, I asked for that epidural as soon as they would let me get it. I have no judgement for people who choose epidurals, I promise. But not being confident enough in my own body to know that it was made to birth, thus allowing myself to work with my contractions as long as possible, is one of my biggest regrets. I've said many times, that I would love to give birth just one more time, on my terms, in my own way just like those I have witnessed. Is there anyone out there that would like to raise the baby for me? 😆
After approximately 8 hours it was time to push and I pushed for twenty minutes and he was here. All 8 lbs 8 oz of him. He was my biggest baby. Unfortunately, as much as I was ready to nurse him immediately, his blood sugar was bottomed out and he was taken to NICU. Any momma that has been in that situation knows how deflating and devastating the uncertainty of your baby's health can be. We were fortunate in that he was only there for a few hours and we were reunited later that night. He breastfed well even despite the delay. Whew!!!!!!
Canaan Elijah Porter November 5, 1998 8lbs 8oz
This is after he came back from NICU several hours after birth.
Those next few days and weeks are a blur. Two littles and a brand new baby? Yeah, you get it. But this time, we co-slept instead of putting him in a bassinet, we nursed on demand and didn't feel the pressure to get up and out as soon as possible to prove we were strong. That part was great. That's the part I wish I could force every new mom to do.
Why do mom's feel like it's too hard to stay still, lay in bed, and rest when they return home from the hospital? This is one part of postpartum I wish I could understand. Other cultures are adamant about this practice.
These days, mothers have no time. That’s why we want to have those forty days after the birth of a child. We are not giving a punishment. We are asking that for those forty days the mother and child be together so that the creativity can be established; values can be established. From the 120th day in the womb to the 40th day out, the entire character and the values of the child are built. Later on is paraphernalia. There is a basic character created. You can harden the wood, but you can never make it steel. You can polish the gold, but you cannot make it hard like steel. These two things are different.
~ Yogi Bhajan
So important. We should, as a culture, prioritize this more than we do. More on this on a later post. But I will say one thing for sure, having this time to focus on him and stay home as much as possible was invaluable.
The postpartum period is so incredibly difficult for so many new moms and I think (no, I know) that it needs to be talked about more openly. It should not be a place of aloneness and isolation with feelings you have no idea how to handle or deal with. There is also a great deal of shame that goes along with postpartum feelings---like, I really should be bonding with this baby more, or why am I so sad when I have such a beautiful perfect baby or why does it seem like all my friends are handling this so great and I feel like I'm drowning?
This is an area that I am working on and plan to add to my practice soon. I have some ideas but I welcome feedback. If you are a new mom or remember what you wished you had when you were postpartum, never hesitate to comment or send me and email. I would love to hear what you need or wish was out there as a resource.
This baby was the absolute most beautiful thing to come out of this desperately hard and trying season of my life and there is not one thing that I regret about having him. I could've chosen differently and I'm thankful that is not something I ever explored. He was mine, and I loved him dearly.
He will always be my beauty for those ashes. ❤️
And then there were three......