Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kendall's naturally unplanned labor & delivery- a guest post!

Hey all!  While I'm off snuggling with new baby, I have a few guest posts lined up to keep you entertained!  The next guest post comes from Kendall, my amazing friend and blog editor!

My name is Kendall Hoover and I am the Senior Copy Editor at 
Great Marks Proofreading Consultants. I have one son, one cat, and one soldier for a husband. I like Greek food, biking, organic farming, and buying vintage Star Wars t-shirts for my son. I blog at “Backspace to Bookbinding”.

Would you be surprised if I told you that the birth of my first son didn’t go exactly as I’d planned it? 

I didn’t think so.

I went into labor after a two hour drive home from my parents’ home on Christmas Day. Because we’re on military insurance, I would have to drive the two hours back down toward my parents to go to the hospital at which my OB delivers. 

When I realized I was having contractions, my husband parked me on the couch with a timer while he re-packed our bags and re-set the house, took care of the cat, etc. Awhile later, he came down to check on me. When he asked me how far apart my contractions were, I realized I’d had contractions at 3 minutes apart for the last 20 minutes. My husband’s reaction was less than calm, to say the least. We HOPPED in the car, and took off for the two hour drive back down to Indianapolis. Unfortunately, as we pulled out of the driveway, it started to snow, so it ended up taking us considerably longer to make it to the hospital.

Make it, we did, however. After about 16 hours of labor (with no epidural), our son was born. All the “natural” childbirth books told me that since I didn’t have an epidural, I would have a rush of adrenaline and happiness after the birth.

Didn’t happen.

What did happen was that I didn’t feel bonded, I had a hard time nursing, and it didn’t take long for our son to develop severe jaundice, for which he ended up in NICU. After a week in NICU, we were able to go home for New Years Day, but within 12 hours of being home, I was being rushed back to Indianapolis for suspected emergency gallbladder surgery. 

These things are the lows.

The highs were really unexpected. I really had no idea what a life saver lactation consultants would be. We ended up having one in the room during every feeding while we were in NICU. I swear to you, every time one of those ladies walked in the room, the “Hallelujah” chorus played. I truly felt like every time they visited, my life got a little easier. They had a solution for every problem Harrison’s doctors threw at us. Although Harrison ended up having one or two bottles of formula in a 12 hour shift when there was no lactation consultant, we otherwise used SNS, nipple shields, nipple everter’s, and pretty much every assistive breastfeeding device you can name. Our lactation consultants showed us how to use them efficiently over that week.

After I’d gone home, I interacted with the hospital’s lactation consultants, La Leche League, and our doula, and eventually weaned Harrison and I off of every assistive device we had used. We battled mastitis several times. We discovered that Harrison had severe food allergies. La Leche league and our hospital’s lactation consultants advised us and supported us. We were never charged for anything. I deeply bonded with my son at around 2 months. He grew out of his allergies. 

He breastfed at least once a day for 16 months, and was 17 months when he breastfed for the last time. Though it didn’t exactly begin the way I expected, breastfeeding became simple, sweet, and as natural as I'd imagined.

How did your labor and delivery go differently than planned?

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