A Transfer Story

Guest writer Rosie G.

In July 2010, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first baby. My best friend at the time had previously delivered her baby with the assistance of her midwife in her home. I had never really pictured myself giving birth anywhere other than in a hospital. My husband and I were curious to know more about the type of birthing experiences a midwife could provide. We did some research and found the perfect duo who at the time were at the San Antonio Birth Center.  Jenny and Christy welcomed us with open arms. They made us feel safe and informed. They were always honest and open during our visits. Every visit was like going to see a friend because Jenny was genuinely interested in how things were going in our daily lives. My pregnancy went well and I really enjoyed all my visits.

On April 4, 2011 I started having contractions few and far between. I remember thinking, man this is nothing. Boy was I wrong! All through the night my husband and my mom alternated rubbing my back as the contractions grew closer and stronger. By the morning of April 5, 2011, I was 41 weeks pregnant and so ready to deliver my baby boy at the birth center. I was looking forward to my water birth experience we had been planning for. It was a scary and exciting time in our lives, but Jenny was there to guide us into parenthood. Throughout our time at the birth center, we moved into different positions and areas of the room, trying to find the most comfortable position for me. As the hours went on, Jenny noticed my labor was not progressing. She always had our best interest at heart, so she recommended we head to the hospital just to be safe. I had already been in labor for so long and my baby was not moving down. Although I was disappointed I didn’t get to deliver my baby at the birth center, I knew I could trust Jenny’s best judgement. When we arrived at the hospital, we were greeted by Jenny and checked in to the maternity ward. Jenny was with me through it all, from the moment we arrived at the birth center until the moment we were told my baby was in distress and we would need to prepare for an emergency C-section. My husband and I were devastated, but we knew getting our baby out safely was our ultimate goal. We shed some tears, but Jenny reassured us we were doing what was best for us all. I remember feeling so scared. The operating room was brightly lit with white painted walls and I was just shivering from all the stuff they gave me in preparation for surgery. I remembered all the reasons why we wanted nothing to do with the hospital. Once they start trying to speed up your labor, it causes the baby’s heart to go into distress and then they have to deliver via C-section. At 9:40 pm, I delivered a healthy baby boy we named Ari Enzo. After I was sent to recovery, Jenny came to check on me and say her goodbyes so I could rest. I was so grateful to have such an awesome person to guide me into motherhood. I am forever grateful for my midwife experience. Because I had a C-section, my OBGYN would not deliver my second baby and it was too late by the time I heard about a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-sec). While my first birth experience was traumatizing for me, Jenny was always there for me when I needed her. I was sad to not have a reason to visit with her anymore once we were done with all our follow-up visits, but we’ve kept in touch all these years later. It’s hard to believe my Ari Enzo just turned 8!! If you’re looking for a warm and genuine birth experience, Jenny and Christy are the ones you’ve been searching for.

Planning for the Fourth Trimester

By Denise Rangel Holbrook IBCLC

Preparing for a baby is fun. Your belly grows and your mind wanders to the unknown; all of the infinite possibilities.You roam the store to handpick items for your registry choosing pieces that fit the image of what your picture perfect family looks like.You choose the perfect name, the perfect crib, and the even more perfect bed set. You plan the perfect baby shower. A birth team  is chosen to honor and support you. You love your Birth Doula and took so much out of the birth and breastfeeding classes you attended.

But once the baby arrives and the initial excitement has passed, you are often left alone with a tiny little being that is now solely your responsibility. You prepared for the baby, but what came next did not make it into the narrative you wrote for yourself: the sore nipples, the lack of sleep, the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. The fourth trimester consists of the first few months after a baby is born where it is transitioning and adjusting to life outside the womb. Though it’s true that for some this transition is seamless, it is also true that for many this transition can be overwhelming and full of challenges. Our baby’s birth is not the end of our journey, but the beginning of something new. Of someone new. Your new life as a parent and your baby’s new life earthside.

Preparing and Surviving the Fourth Trimester

Real Talk

First, it is important to understand and accept that babies are a full time job, especially in the first few weeks. Newborn babies want and need to be close to you. Plan to spend at least the first two weeks in bed with your baby giving them lots of skin to skin, nursing them on demand, and bonding with them. Commit to this idea now, and it will not feel like such a shock when the baby arrives.

Identify Your Helpers, Give Them Jobs They Can Succeed In

Is your mom great at making a few meals, freezing them for later all while putting up laundry and doing dishes? Great! This is the perfect job for her. Is she not so great at sitting with you and really hearing you and your struggles? Let’s give that job to someone else. Be honest with yourself about who in your life can be with you and really help during what can be a very difficult transition. Create a list and reach out to them before the baby comes so they can be prepared to be called upon, when needed.

Hire a Postpartum Doula

Postpartum Doulas are trained to help nurture the family as they transition into parenthood. They offer guidance and help with the physical and emotional recovery after birth and provide breastfeeding support, assistance with newborn care, and more. Find a doula while you are pregnant, interview them to make sure their values align with yours, and add them to your postpartum team. To find a doula close to you visit www.doulamatch.net.

Find Local Support Groups

Ask your midwife, doctor, doula, childbirth educator, and friends which support groups they recommend, and make an effort to go to a meeting while you are pregnant. What you will find at a support group is a collection of parents who have been through, or are currently going through, similar struggles. Online support groups can be a helpful, but be can also be full of negativity and judgement, so join with caution.

Rethink the Registry

What do babies really need? Think about it: Is it the cute onesie with the matching leggings and tiny jacket? Does your baby really need tiny pockets? Think over all the advice you just read and apply it to your registry. Ask for practical help and gifts like a gift certificate for a postpartum doula or lactation consultant. Ask people if they are available to help when the baby comes, and how they can assist you. Meal delivery, grocery shopping, and chores are gifts you can ask for ahead of time. Just be sure to mention that an offer to help is not a guarantee to see the baby.

For Partners

For non birthing/breastfeeding partners, it is easy to feel confused as to what your role is. Put simply, your role is to support the process and help nurture your family. Go to the birth and breastfeeding classes too, and learn as much as you can about what normal birth and breastfeeding looks like. Change diapers, get lots of skin to skin with baby, and make sure your breastfeeding partner is well nourished and hydrated. Be the gatekeeper of your home and only let supportive, compassionate people in with your family during this delicate time.

Finally, know that although parenting is not easy, it will get better. You get better. Transition and the unknown/uncertainty are always the hardest. It is through experience and going through the fire, the unknown, that we build our confidence as parents.All we can do is plan as best as we can for a smooth transition. Will you feel like your old self again? Maybe. But maybe not. And that is OK. You are not the same. You are stronger. But you are not alone.

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