This was first written some years ago as part of my Nurturing Birth course as i began my doula journey. I am copying it straight here for you all to read. Reading it back myself now i realise how much I have learnt in my journey and although I feel a little bit sad at some things I know that I made the right decisions at that time. I did find the experience empowering and had a positive experience although i may have moaned about it afterwards. I would not write it quite the same these days but this is how I remembered it then. Life is a journey.
Here you go…..
“My first child was born in 2005 naturally in hospital. I was 20 years old. I had a straight forward pregnancy with no sickness and the odd strange craving. Throughout the pregnancy I watched birth programs and read pregnancy and baby magazines. On reflection these are full of formula adverts and scare stories of birth. I knew I wanted a natural birth with little drugs and interventions. I went into labour on my due date and 15 hours labour I bought my wonderful son into the world. I used gas and air for most of the labour and also used a TENS machine and a bath. I did begin to ask for pethidine as I felt I could no longer cope. The midwife however seemed to take her time as she later said she believed in my capabilities and I am really grateful for her doing that as I would have possibly felt disappointed in myself if I had had the drug. My waters were broken (not sure on timings anymore) as I was becoming tired and I wasn’t dilating much. I was more than happy with this at that time. The midwife I had throughout the labour had to leave as her shift had finished and she had to get her own children. The student stayed. I got a new midwife who I wasn’t keen on, although it could have been my hormones (transition) and the amount of Gas and air I had inhaled. She was very stern on me laying off the G&A but I really didn’t want too. On reflection she had a point. Once I was ready to push I led on my back with feet up on another students hip. I was advised to be more upright as pushing wasn’t doing much. I was also screaming, which they advised me to focus energy elsewhere. I remember wanting to tell them where to shove there ideas. However I did calm the screaming and focus but i stayed on my back. Within 3 pushes my son was born. He was then placed on me, but not skin to skin, whilst the placenta was delivered. I had made the decision to have the syntocin injection. He wasn’t encouraged to breastfeed and I remember I had had a bath etc. before he was placed to breast.
I hadn’t come across many babies at this point so I felt lost. Instinct seemed to kick in overwhelmingly and I seemed to know what to do. Breastfeeding was somewhat of a problem to us. He had swallowed a lot of fluid so wasn’t really taking much at first and I felt it painful. The midwives wanted to see him feed but I struggled. The midwives tried to help but they were very hands on so I ended up going home none the wiser. I was getting up every 2 hours day and night to feed him and as I was told in the hospital those 10 minutes feeding is good I was putting him down after 10 minutes. Which I now know is not good practise. My nipples became very sore and cracked and the advice I received from health professionals was that he was gaining weight and the latch looked good. This left me feeling as I must just be me and still walking every 2 hours made me feel as though he was a hungry baby and I couldn’t satisfy him. One night I had a breakthrough and he slept 5 hour straight. I boasted to the midwife and was told that this was bad and I should wake him every four hours. I was back to feeling bad. Eventually at 3-4 weeks I mentioned to my health visitor that I was really struggling and I wanted to move to formula and she showed me how to make up formula safely. I remember I did not receive breastfeeding support at this point. I also note that I felt that formula was a natural progression and that it was weird to breastfeed older babies. I realise now that this was due to media and some peer influences.
I ended up with severe post natal depression after the birth of my eldest and was determined to not go through it again with any other children so I began to research more. This inevitably led me to come across the relation of lack of breastfeeding and post natal depression. “