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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

a birth story - Beth Wallace

The letter below is my dear friend and photographer momma, Beth Wallace's birth story, as she wrote a note to a mommy friend last year. Such a great story! Thanks, Beth, for sharing. You are one great momma... that I know to be true.

Hey fellow momma!

Holden is sleeping (hooray!) and I have a few minutes. My milk has come in and he took full advantage yesterday. We realized that he nursed almost every hour yesterday. He latched on right away from the beginning. Such a good boy.

I think our birth stories are a little similar with their twists and turns, but I am SO relieved to not have had to wait as long as you did. I don't think I realized quite how ready I was to have him out. Doesn't it feel nice to be able to move, breathe, sleep (kindof :), etc?

So, here's the scoop. My water broke at 3am on Friday. I wasn't sure if it was my water or not bc I had inserted primrose oil and they caused a lot of leaking the day before too. So, I didn't get my hopes up too much but then contractions started too. we called our doula who told us to call the clinic when they open. We got an appt for 9:15am and they confirmed that my water did break. The hospital is across the street so we were packed and moved right in.

I was able to walk the hospital for a while. I can't quite remember when active labor started but I think it was around 8pm that night. Around 11, I still wouldn't dilate past 4/5cm so pitocin was on the books for me. I really didn't want that because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the pain of being induced. I was also exhausted by that point and begged everyone for an epidural. I had a doctor instead of a midwife for a while and she was really encouraging the pitocin and epidural. Our nurse was great though and starved her off for a bit...She kept "forgetting" to put in the IV right away, the pharmacy "took a long time" etc, in hopes that I would dilate more on my own. When it started to get close to being the time, I was so nauseous and threw up like I never had before. Josh and I were both surprised because usually I cry my brains out when I throw up but this was all mission related but I still ended up needing the pitocin.

Our doula was amazing though. She suggested Stadol (sp?) as a first step instead of the epidural because it might just give me some energy. It basically knocked me out for at least an hour but then I couldn't fully wake up. I hated that part. I could hear everything going on around me but couldn't participate. It was like I was in a coma. The doctor came back in and said I either needed an epidural or more Stadol. They kept asking me but all I'd say is that I wanted the pain to go away.

So Josh had to decide on the spot what they should do with me. He knew I was too drunk/high on the Staydol and that I rationally didn't want an epidural and would want to be able to push and the epidural would make pushing prolonged. He and Lyndi talked and he asked for us to just have another hour to see how things progressed and they did!

I finally came to. I knew that whole time I was 9cm dilated but I knew if I couldn't get up to go to the bathroom without falling asleep, I wouldn't be able to push. Finally though I started pushing, which took 2 hours. My favorite midwife came on around then though and I was so relieved to see her. However, there was at least one other birth going on at the same time and she kept having to rotate. Every time she would leave I'd stall.

Come to find out, at 9:45, she delivered my friend's baby next door, who was supposed to be delivering at a birth center in Stratham. I knew she was in labor that day because I hadn't heard from her at all. She was two weeks late and I didn't want to contact her when I went into labor bc I was afraid she'd be upset. (We saw each other 3x last week) and I had heard someone from the birth center had been transported. I looked at Lyndi and said, "That's Nicole in there isn't it?" I kind of remember the look she gave me, as in "How the hell do you know that?" She gave me a discreet nod bc of course they're not supposed to tell you and when Candace finally came back, they said she was back for good because the other woman had delivered.

So then I was VERY motivated to get my baby out too. I knew that she didn't want a hospital birth and if she could do it, so could I. I pushed hard until he finally came out. Josh said this was the funniest part of the whole thing. I was very polite the entire time I was in labor, saying thank you, please, etc. But toward the end, I screamed, "Get this fucking child out meeee!!!" I guess Josh and Lyndi had to try to not laugh at that one!

He was finally born at 10:15am. A lot of people are surprised that I was able to labor and push him out without the epidural and frankly, so am I. The thing that helped me was the hypnobirthing. When I would have a contraction in the later part I would go into this trance, repeating things like, "calm, baby move down, relax, open, etc," and I would do yoga type breathing. Then I would pass out between contractions. It was hard to find a way to get comfortable though. My best position was actually sitting up in bed, half crosslegged, and when I wasn't having a contraction, I leaned forward onto Josh's shoulder.

I think that's about everything! I hope this gave you a little reading material. It's actually nice to have it all written out so I can send it to other people too.

So enough about me. Tell me how Kylie and you are doing. I know you guys are planning on moving by this summer but when you're back in the Hanover area, keep me posted. A trip up there would be wonderful. We could strap our babies into carriers and hike out to Velvet Rocks. I can't wait for our little ones to meet!

Beth (and a snoozing, cuddly Holden)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


My good friend, Sarah, just announced she is expecting baby number 2. In celebration of that and anticipation of all the changes it means for her little family I am posting the info I found below from the book, The Must-Have Mom Manual - Two Mothers, Two Perspectives, One Book That Tells You Everything You Need to Know by Sara Ellington and Stephanie Triplett. Enjoy!

-give your current child a gift from baby number 2

-when guests come in to the hospital or at home, try to include your first kid in your conversation "he was such a big helper with the new baby," etc.
"make a big deal about the importance of your child's new role in the family." -page 400

-talk about the benefits of not being a baby anymore and how being a big kid is cooler - not eating yucky baby food, riding a bike, etc.

-if your big kid needs to be babied, then do it, it's OK, don't expect too much from your first.

-don't make them share every toy in the beginning, the older one needs his space at first.

-give your oldest special chores to help with the baby.

For those moms who have survived the new baby number two arriving, what tips do you have for moms like Sarah who are entering this stage of parenting?

Monday, September 5, 2011

journey of a PT BF'ing Mama by Holly Gunn

By the awesome M-O-M Holly Gunn
My goal: to breastfeed my second child longer than my first (which was 2 months), until I returned to work (4 months), or until teeth appeared. The reality: 4 months and 1 week full time BF (breastfeeding); 3 weeks part time BF.

If anyone knows me they know the struggle and battle I went through from the very beginning. Breastfeeding is hard work. It's exhausting, both mentally and physically. It's demanding, literally.

Jillian has always been a great baby when it came to nursing. In the hospital she ate often. Sometimes every 2 hours, occasionally every 4. At one point I thought she had her days/nights mixed up. I had the best nurses - experienced, helpful, and patient. I had BF my son (now almost 4 years) for only a few months of his awesome life but totally forgot how things were supposed to go.

Almost 36 hours post-delivery my nurse stayed for what felt like the hundredth time to oversee my nursing abilities. Somewhere mid conversation tears began to roll down my face. I couldn't control what was happening. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, scared, lost, alone, helpless...oh did I ever feel helpless. But my nurse, being the best ever, made me feel empowered. She assured me that everything I was feeling and the frustration of nursing was all normal. Every long hour of it. Little did I know the ride I was in for.

Again, Jillian was and always has been a great baby, she just ate often. I nursed every 2-3 hours at home for the first month or so. Being #2, I slept when I was able, often times with her asleep on my chest as I sit upright on the couch or in the rocker. I have never felt that much exhaustion in my life. I was drained. Who am I joking, I'm still drained :)

Looking back on it, I nursed on demand. When she would cry and all else failed I would nurse. For the first 6 weeks I felt as if I was held captive in my own home. I didn't feel like I could do much of anything or go anywhere. I began feeling frustrated with nursing and was tempted to give it all up, cold turkey which would have been SOOO uncomfortable! I had some great support. Several friends and family members who had BF'd or were BFing were great for me to bounce ideas off of and gain strength from. I tried to establish a routine but it just wasn't in the cards. Somewhere around the 6 week mark I broke down and started feeding her 2 ounces of formula after I had nursed her at night in an effort to gain just a little more sleep. This worked well until her 2 month grown spurt and then I was back where I had started. And growth spurts...UGH, seriously the worst ever. Thankfully they didn't last long because I truly was nursing every 1-2 hours on the dot. I had moments where I felt like a mama piggy with her piglet.

Something happened at 3 months. It's almost as if her belly and my milk, finally synced with one another and she started sleeping 6-7 hours through the night. Finally, I was beginning to feel good about this BF thing. I was beginning to feel confident and as if we were making some progress. We still had little to no schedule during the day but that was ok because I was getting a solid chunk of sleep each night.

July passed by and August rolled in. I was due to start back to work mid-August and the plan was to pump during the day and nurse at night. This seemed manageable to me. I work in a school but don't teach so I have my own office. A private space with a lock - I already had one up from hundreds other woman out in the work force. It seemed so easy to me. I had been pumping off and on for the last 4+ weeks so I knew what I was in for. The first few days back went smoothly - I took some of the great advice that other BF mama's had given me and made sure I was organized and prepared each day (napkins, extra nursing pads, all my pump parts, a book to read, a picture of my little one to look at) but somewhere around mid-week I just crumbled. I was having a hard time shutting my door for 30 minutes twice a day. I scheduled myself out but somehow I would consistently be interrupted or delayed. I started to stress. I was stressing about getting everything done before pumping, trying to pump on a schedule, attempting to rush the pumping process, and then the routine continued. My supply was steady but I was still nervous I wasn't making enough.

I couldn't take it anymore. I was cracking over BFing. I was crumbling because of BFing. I was truly loosing my mind because of BFing.
I talked to LOTS of BF'ing mamas, again new and old, grabbing every ounce of support I could to continue pumping at work but it just wasn't in the cards for me. After lots of pondering and thinking I decided to become a part-time BFing mama - once before bed and again early morning.

I hated the thought. I was so mad at myself. Never once had I not accomplished a goal that I set before myself until now. I felt like I was letting her down. I was letting myself down. I started by eliminating one pumping session from my daily routine. It wasn't long before engorgement set in. O.M.G. How painful! I would nurse just long enough to relieve the pressure and began dipping into my frozen stash to supplement. Eventually, 4-5 days later, I was no longer needing to pump during the day and the engorgement had diminished during this time but appeared early in the AM.

My frozen stash disappeared and was replaced with formula. I've only bought 1 box thus far and still hate the thought of buying a substitute for something that I'm more than capable of producing, but the truth of the matter is I am more relaxed and less stressed because of this decision.

Being a part-time BFing mama is not a bad thing. Any amount of breast milk is better than no breast milk at all. It was a hard decision to make but I'm happy to be able to continue on a more manageable schedule
(two times a day).

Just the other day I was worried my milk had dried up as my breasts were no longer painful or noticeably full in the morning but thankfully that was not the case. My body had simply adjusted to the new schedule that we had created (nursing every 10-12 hours).

Part time nursing isn't for everyone, but it is an option for those BF'ing, working mamas who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with pumping at work. The conversion time from full time to part time (for me) was about 5-7 days. One recommendation would be to start the elimination of a feeding on the last day of your work week as it doesn't take long for engorgement to set in and for you to feel uncomfortable. Having a few days of rest from work will be a great time to rebound. has some great information on part-time feeding