Hi, my name is Danielle and I am the mother of The Birth Babes. I was asked to share my birth experiences with them with you! This is my story.
Birth Babe #1 - Taylor:
I got pregnant with Taylor in 1988. I had a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy, except I couldn’t stand the smell of bacon (and I love bacon!). When it came time for Taylor to enter this world, I thought I was prepared. I had been to Lamaze classes and her nursery was ready. What else did I need to know? Oh – I had a book written by Dr. Spock, too!
When I went into the hospital at midnight to have her, the only person that was “allowed“ in the room was my husband. After 7 hours in labor, I was only dilated to 3 cm, so I was induced with a pitocin drip and my water was broke by the attending physician. Labor quickly became more intense. I do not like pain so an epidural was inserted. I did not have anyone in that room to coach me to breathe or to calm me, except my husband and the nurse. Neither one of them were very soothing from my perspective.
Oh - how I wished I knew about doulas back then!
At 2:00pm, Taylor was born a healthy 8 pound 2 oz baby. After 2 days in the hospital, we were allowed to go home. I was so excited to take her home to her beautiful nursery and bond with her. I decided to breastfeed. I really had no information on breastfeeding except what my relatives were telling me. After my nipples cracked and bled, it was very painful. I contacted the La Leche League in hopes that they could guide me. They actually made me feel very judged and like I was a horrible person for wanting to stop breastfeeding.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was slipping into a depression. I thought my feelings were normal. You see, I wanted everything perfect; a clean house, a clean baby, a clean me, and dinner ready when the hubby got home. Well, it didn’t work out that way. I also did not express how I was feeling to anyone. However, there is one person in my life who knows me so well and that is my sister, Andi. She knew something was not right with me. She would come over and take my child with her and tell me to get some rest, or take a shower, or whatever I needed.
She also had two little ones of her own. I would call her a "natural" with babies. I started to compare myself and wondered why I couldn’t be a mom like her. I was so sad.
At the time, I had no idea what postpartum depression was. I thought that I was failing as a new mother. I tried to feel better and snap out of it, but I did not know where to go or what to do. There really was no support group that I knew of. My sister was my support. Had it not been for her, I believe that I would have slipped into an abyss. She was my “doula” and I didn’t even know it! Thank God for her!
Time started ticking away and my baby was growing and happy. However, we did go through several different formulas because she was lactose intolerant. That was another journey in itself.
Birth Babe #2 - Shelby:
We moved to Michigan from Missouri in 1990 when Taylor was 14 months old. I got pregnant with Shelby and had her in 1991. Once again, I had a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy. I really enjoyed being pregnant.
I did not know anyone when we moved to Michigan. My husband worked a lot and I was alone with Taylor and pregnant with Shelby. Thank goodness for cheap flights back then because I was able to see someone in my family about every 45 days!
So, onto the birth of Shelby! She came quickly! I went into labor around 6 AM at home. We went to the hospital around 9:00am and I had her by 1:00pm. Remember, all of my family is in Missouri. This time around they let my friend come in the room and “coach” me. She wasn’t much of a coach- but guess what? She wasn’t trained to provide birth support. She sure tried, though! Anyways, I wanted an epidural again as I am not good with pain. I dilated so quickly that the epidural did not work. Every time I had a contraction it would send a sharp shooting pain down the left side of my body. OUCH! The labor pains were enough, and this only made things worse.
I gave birth to a 9 pound 1 oz baby girl, and after one day at the hospital, we went home. Then we were a family of four. Shelby was a very easy-going baby. I was the one that was a wreck - again. This time around, I had no help. My sister, my lifeline, was in Missouri. So I had to “bite the bullet“ and woman-up (or so I thought.)
I finally realized that nothing is perfect. It’s okay to let your home be dusty. It’s okay to let the laundry get done later. Do the things that are important to you and your baby. Spend time with your babies because time flies.
Use the resources available to you. I really thought I was an educated mother and that I was aware of all of the resources that were available to me at the time. There is so much more information out there now available for your use. Use it! And if you need help finding resources, reach out.
My wish for you all is that you have the most beautiful birthing experience that you possibly can.