Emily B., Sacramento, CA

Born: ,


Posted by Emily B., Sacramento, CA .


This baby, Isaac. I love him but he keeps me up at night. Sometimes I pass the time (still) trying to process his recent birth, not only getting the whirlwind of events straight in my head but also trying to sort through my thoughts and feelings on the whole thing. Somewhere along the line I came to feel that a 3.5 x 5-inch store-bought thank-you card was insufficient. I wanted to share with you some of my more recent thoughts on Isaac's birth, which, I have found, are inextricably bound to those of Adam's. 

Pregnancy: When I was pregnant with Adam, I had an 8-week appointment with the OB's office nurse to discuss family history, nutrition, and so forth. I remember the nurse, when mentioning breastfeeding, referred me to the kellymom.com website. She said something to the effect of "if you have questions about breastfeeding we'll refer you to this website, so we just instruct you to go to the website first instead of calling us." I didn't think much of it at the time because I could not have anticipated the trouble we'd have, but knowing what I know now I am appalled that that was the best they had to offer in terms of fostering a successful breastfeeding relationship.

The birth: I was induced with pitocin, which you already know, so I won't dwell on that except to say I am grateful to have avoided that with Isaac's birth.

Mercy Folsom boasts a 93.4% success rate for babies successfully breastfeeding prior to discharge (this is their 2010 figure, which happens to be the year Adam was born there.) Nurse Robin was their dedicated lactation nurse. She helped us in our room prior to discharge and we also saw her several days later at our outpatient nursing consult. Adam still wasn't latching at this point but because we were exhaustedly finger-feeding him pumped milk at home around the clock, he was still gaining weight. Her parting words from the outpatient consult were "Keep trying, you'll get it." To her credit, she was right. Fast forward three hard months, a half-dozen consults with an independent lactation consultant, two tongue clippings, and dozens of physical therapy sessions for Adam's neck and jaw muscles. We did get it, eventually, but I can't let her take any of the credit.

We live very close to this hospital and pass it frequently on our way to and from our various outings. It's not uncommon for me to recollect some of the events of his birth when we drive by. Recently on one such drive-by, my husband said cheekily (but seriously), "I bet they counted you in their 90-whatever-percent success statistic." I can't help but think he's probably right.

Post-partum care: My OB wasn't present at Adam's birth because she wasn't the doctor on call at the time. It wasn't a big deal - I knew in advance that was the protocol and I happened to know and like the doctor that did deliver Adam. At my 6-week post-partum appointment I was back under the care of my doctor. She examined me and then went down her checklist of all the questions she's supposed to ask - about bleeding, feeding the baby, and post-partum depression. What was missing from her list - what she forgot to ask about - was the birth. How it went, what I thought, what had happened. I distinctly remember thinking, there in her office, "Wow. She couldn't care less about my birth experience." I couldn't figure out how my own OB could be so disinterested. I was just a chart, another patient to sign off at the 6-week mark. She said, in closing, "Be sure to come back in a year for your annual pap." I nodded, not to agree that I would but more as an acknowledgement that I'd heard her speak. Because I knew even as I walked out of the exam room that day, almost three full years ago, I wouldn't be coming back.     

I am not saying and don't mean to imply that I regret these experiences. It's my story. It's also what motivated me to pursue a different story for the birth of my second child; it's what led me to The Birth Center.  

Factually, I suppose you could say the two outcomes were the same. Two beautiful, healthy, incredible little boys. It could also be argued that this is the most important part of the story. Yet it's hard to ignore the details, the little bits and pieces that all fit together to create the whole picture. And it's those bits and pieces that I feel like we got right this time: a natural, wonderful birth experience; unparalleled, unconditional  post-partum and lactation support; and a care provider that, well, cares.  

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me write a better story.