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Dr. Anna's Postpartum Blog

The past 12 weeks have been an amazingly life changing experience for me and my family. It really is amazing how all of the stories and cliches that you hear about becoming a parent become totally true. Everyone told us how fast this time would go and how quickly our baby would grow… ALL TRUE. Amazing.

One of my last bump pics!

One of my last bump pics!

This blog is inspired by my experience through postpartum and my utter shock of how little I knew. I want to share my experience with others to shed a little light on what it’s like during this time. Whether you’re a new mom, a mom with older kids, a mom to be or maybe you are someone who has a close friend or family member that is about to have a baby. This blog is a peak into those first 12 weeks.

Raymond was born on August 15th at 3:44 PM. He weighed 7 lbs 8 oz and was 21 inches long. He was born completely healthy and perfect. I had been having prodromal labor for over a month before the real deal kicked in! My prodromal labor consisted of lots of

My view while laboring at home. So peaceful.

My view while laboring at home. So peaceful.

pressure and contractions that were very inconsistent. So when labor actually started, I didn’t believe it. Early labor went on for 3 days before true active labor really set in around 10:00 pm on the Wednesday night before Ray was born. I labored all night long and then into the morning on Thursday.

We had a home birth and so our midwives had been coming and going starting on Monday night. It was absolutely amazing to be able to have their support and care and not need to leave the house.

Dr. Monica had offered to come adjust me if it was needed… and oooooh my, did I need her by the time Thursday rolled around! She came over around 9am and adjusted me and my husband who I had literally been hanging on for the past 12 hours (he’s the worlds greatest). Right after I got adjusted, I

felt my first urge to push! It was amazing how the adjustment helped my body during that part of labor. Things started progressing from there, my water finally broke around noon and then Ray was born a few hours later!

It was definitely hard but I would 100% do it all over again. Home birth was definitely the right choice for us. One of the really cool observations my husband made was that I would have some moments of doubt and truly only require a brief “You can do this!” to keep me going. I was so vulnerable and suggestive that I was just like, “Oh, ok!” and soldiered on! This is why it’s sooo important to be surrounded by a positive birth team. This is an incredibly vulnerable time for a woman in labor.

Welcome to the world, Ray!

Welcome to the world, Ray!

After Ray was born we were so amazed and in awe and in LOVE!

Then the real fun began!!

The following days were full of visits from family and friends, visits from our midwives, trial and error with breastfeeding, and FOOD! Food never tasted so good during my first two weeks postpartum. I had not been particularly keen on meat during my whole pregnancy. We have a professional barbecuer in the family and they brought over an amazing meal that I think I will remember for the rest of my life! Those first few days I moved so very slowly. Just walking from the bedroom to the kitchen felt like a workout after delivering a baby.

Ray was pretty sleepy after our long labor and delivery so his first night was pretty quiet. We had a tough time getting a good latch from the very beginning. I had NO idea how difficult breastfeeding can be. We were at the point where we were pumping drops of colostrum and finger feeding it to him. We actually have a log counting how many drops he would get. It was so stressful. I felt completely desperate to be able to feed my child and consumed by breastfeeding and how to make it work for us. We had never done any of this before so we just had no idea if he was getting enough or what a good latch looked like or if we should be waking him up to feed. We pulled in ALL of our resources. Our midwives were always just a call away and spent so much time helping us determine if we were on the right track. I was reading books, watching youtube videos and talking to other friends and moms for some insight. We determined that he was getting enough so we were encouraged to keep going because exclusively breastfeeding was our goal.

I’ll never forget on our 3rd night, Ray hadn’t had a bowel movement, we had been struggling with getting him to latch all day and we were at our wits end. It was around 10:00 at night and we were sprawled out on the bed surrounded by boppy pillows, our breastfeeding log and all things baby related. We ended up texting our midwives because we were really concerned at the point. Right when my husband sent over the text, Ray got a really nice deep latch and I could tell he was actually getting milk! Minutes later we heard the manliest toot come out of such a tiny baby and we were so relieved that he went #2! I never thought I’d be THAT excited to change a dirty diaper!

Getting adjusted by Dr. Monica

For the next few weeks, we fed every 2-3 hours around the clock. There were times when it went great and other times when we would both be in tears. I began using a nipple shield which helped SO much but I just despised it. I hated how unnatural it felt and how I could tell he didn’t like the taste of the plastic. I tried to get Ray to latch without it at least once each day. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it would make him even more upset. The most important part was that he was getting fed.

During this first month Ray was getting adjustments by myself and Dr. Monica. He needed a ton of work in his pelvis and in his cranial bones. He was also receiving Craniosacral Therapy. This just emphasizes the fact that even a completely natural, uncomplicated pregnancy and birth is physically stressful on our tiny babies! They need our help!

After our 4 week appointment with our midwives,  an adjustment and craniosacral therapy, Ray latched beautifully without the nipple shield! After that feeding we never needed to use the nipple shield again. It was a major turning point for us!IMG_0008

I filled my social media with tons of positive accounts and I remember reading one post in particular. It said;

“Breastfeeding outcomes are measured over time.

Even a weighted feeding on my scale doesn’t tell me whether or not breastfeeding is working.

It’s dynamic.

But just like going to the gym, you aren’t going to be toned and slim the next day. You might actually be sore and exhausted the next day with little to show for your efforts!

It’s at this point that most people give up.

The difference between moms who reach their breastfeeding goals and those that don’t is that those who succeed never gave up.

You may not see results on a daily basis. But if you stick with it, it gets easier. And you start to see results. You see a happy healthy thriving baby. The stress fades away.

The time it takes to get breastfeeding going well is different for every mother baby pair. But I can tell you that it shouldn’t take 3 months. Learning to breastfeed and do it successfully is learning to adapt to a whole new lifestyle.

It requires a different way of thinking about things. It requires massive shifts in the way you live your life. It will stretch your emotions in ways you never knew you could feel.

If you allow it to.

The choice to become a breastfeeding mom is YOUR choice. It starts with your desire to shift yourself to make this happen. And you can see it through if you have a strong desire.

You have to really want this to work, because it can be really really hard. I’m not going to lie…it’s much easier to formula feed and have precise numbers to know exactly how much your baby is eating and when.

So when you’re considering whether or not you want to breastfeed—consider whether or not you’re willing to adopt an entirely different lifestyle.

Breastfeeding isn’t just about nutrition–it is a way of mothering”

@HolisticLactation

I couldn’t agree more with these words. I know there women who legitamately cannot breastfeed and I would never shame them for that. However, our society and health care system just doesn’t support breastfeeding properly. We’re all lead to believe that since it’s a natural thing, it will just happen naturally and be easy! If it doesn’t work out that way, then they just hand you some formula and send you on your way. I am so grateful that I had supportive and HONEST people helping me. My husband really supported me breastfeeding because he knew how bad I wanted to. Our midwives were very encouraging and even when we were struggling, they encouraged us every step of the way. They helped us understand that it’s completely normal to have some struggles those first few days and weeks before you really get the hang of it. I must have asked them 100 times if I should just give him a bottle… I’m so glad I didn’t.

IMG_0011Overall these past 12 weeks have been absolutely beautiful. I feel really blessed to have such a healthy baby and despite our challenges I know they are so minimal in comparison to others. Ray is a joy, he doesn’t cry unless he truly needs something and our toughest days have been during his big mental leaps and growth spurts.

Whether your have an “easy baby” or not, the postpartum transition is TOUGH. The emotions are intense, the physical act of birth is intense, and just the fact that WE HAVE A BABY NOW was a massive shift in our life. Oh, and AAALLLLL the googling. I can’t even tell you how many times I googled something and worried about it. Like is it normal for my babies’ skin to peel everywhere?! (Yes) What color should my babies’ poop be?! What does engorgement feel like?! (PAINFUL) Should I wake my baby up to change his diaper?!

IMG_0015

Trying to cook with a newborn!

I had all the questions and everything felt so BIG and IMPORTANT. Of course, these things are important but my feelings may have been a bit skewed. Time went on and the visitors slowed down, my husband went back to work, and we were trying to navigate this new life of ours. I began to experience some pretty intense feelings of anxiety. I was SO nervous about giving my baby a bottle, using a nipple shield, leaving him for the first time! Things that normally would have been minorly annoying started to feel like I was standing at the bottom of mount everest and I needed to climb all the way to the top. It felt impossible.

It wasn’t until it got a bit worse that I realized maybe this wasn’t entirely normal. My husband is AMAZING at supporting me, however I felt bad that he was pretty much the only person hearing my fears and anxieties. One night when I was having a bit of a crying episode I could see the concern in his eyes. Ray was 2 months old when I finally decided that rather than assume it was “normal” and that things were “just fine!” I decided to seek out therapy from postpartum professionals. I felt this was very important to share as I believe these feelings are far more common than most people let on.

I wouldn’t change anything in the past few months for the world. I am grateful for our experiences, good and bad. Without the support we had, our journey would look completely different. My experience has led me to want to find and create additional support for the Stillwater

Our amazing midwives (AKA Ray's fairy godmothers!) at our 6 week appointment!

Our amazing midwives (AKA Ray’s fairy godmothers!) at our 6 week appointment!

community. If you’re a Mom who needs some support (no matter how old your babies are) I hope you reach out. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when I walked into our Early Childhood Family Education Class for newborns and saw 5-6 other women and couples with babies just like mine! Dealing with the same challenges and triumphs.

There is so much more I could say about my experience, words truly don’t do it justice. I have gained so much respect for all the families that have been where we are today. I have so much empathy and understanding that we are all literally doing every thing we possibly can to make sure our babies are as healthy and happy as possible.

Ray at about 16 weeks old. Stylin' in Momma's shades!

Ray at about 16 weeks old. Stylin’ in Momma’s shades!

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