Time to Level Up: My Experience With Baby #2 (Part Two)

Pregnancy this time was totally different. Although it wasn’t planned, it felt amazing. I wasn’t in school, I was married, had my own place, had my own car, it wasn’t my first rodeo, and I felt SO beautiful and sexy. Everything that didn’t exist during my first pregnancy.

Because of what I experienced during my first pregnancy and birthing experience, I intentionally took steps needed in order to have different outcome this time. As I stated in part one (click and read if you haven’t), I decided that using a midwife to deliver would work best for the pregnancy experience that my husband and I both desired. This time I yearned to go in labor on my own, to push when and how I wanted to, to have that “golden hour” with my baby, and to ultimately do things more naturally. Although my nursing team and nurse practitioner were amazing during my pregnancy with Taniya, the overall process was nothing compared to Jayla’s.

Unlike my first pregnancy, my midwifery team never based the health of my pregnancy off of my weight. Their goal from start to finish was to eat healthy and to remain active. Of course, they didn’t want me to gain a tremendous amount that could bring on health issues for both me and the baby, but they let my body naturally do it’s thing. This was a huge relief and blessing to me. In the past, I suffered from extreme lack of self-esteem and body dysmorphic issues. I was obsessed with how much I weighed. I would weigh myself multiple times a day, and when the number didn’t look right it changed my entire perception when I looked in the mirror. I’ve bloomed and healed in such a beautiful way since then, but was still sensitive to hearing “you’re overweight,” or “I need you to slow down on your eating because you’re picking up weight fast.” I remember being told that during my first pregnancy and feeling stuck. How do you slow down your eating or cut back when you’re pregnant? Well, had I been more knowledgeable and had more resources I would have known that I could make alterations to my diet in order to be more healthy.

That’s why I sought out educational classes this time around. I remember people inquiring about why I would take prenatal classes like I hadn’t been a parent for six years already. My reply was “Exactly, it’s been six years since I’ve been pregnant and since I’ve dealt with a newborn. A lot has changed in six years with pregnancy and beyond, and I didn’t take the necessary steps the first time around.” If I wanted a different outcome, I had to take a different route.

The midwifery team at GW Hospital provided me with an amazing packet of things to do and not do. It included helpful information for both prenatal and postpartum health. One of the recommendations was to hire a doula, which was already on my to-do list. [Read my post 10 Reasons to Hire a Doula to learn more about why women should hire doulas.] I checked out the list they provided, and in the midst of my research I found Mamatoto Village. It was a nonprofit based in DC not far from my home that offered both doula services and childbirth education courses. I immediately reached out, and this place changed the entire outcome of my pregnancy!

I received such a warm welcome and was paired up with my doula in no time. I also signed up for each and every class they offered. They ranged from newborn care, breastfeeding basics, and an intense childbirth course. Each class enlightened me, and to be honest made me feel guilty about how I handled my first pregnancy. The breastfeeding basics class made me wish that I had done more research and sought out help in order to have the breastfeeding experience I desired for my daughter and I. The childbirth class…OH.EM.GEE! First of all, it was for about 8 hours (could have been 7, 8,9 or 10 hours, but pregnancy brain is real). Second of all, the knowledge that was provided was UNREAL. I couldn’t believe I missed out on all that information. That class alone had me feeling so prepared for our newest addition to arrive. One portion of the class really changed my life. It was based on inductions and interventions. The difference between medically induced pregnancies versus natural inductions, and medical interventions versus natural interventions. When I say life changing, I mean LIFE CHANGING.

If you read my blog posts My First Go At Pregnancy: Part Three and My First Go At Pregnancy: Part Four (if not go read!) you’ll remember that I was induced. I had to labor in bed the entire time, ended up getting an epidural, didn’t get immediate skin-to-skin contact, tore my perineum, Taniya had shoulder dystocia and more. In the childbirth class, I learned that what I experienced was in fact a part of a cycle called “The Cascade of Intervention.” You can look up research or diagrams with more details on Google, but out of the 20 outcomes that I saw on the web, I experienced about 10 of them.

I knew that I could plan the for the ultimate labor and delivery experience, but I was also aware that the circumstances could change at any moment. If needed, intervention would have to take place in order to save me and my baby. However, I left class that day feeling educated, motivated and empowered. I learned ways to cope with labor, birthing positions and more. I realized that in order to have the labor and delivery experience I desired, I had to be intentional about having a positive outlook on the birthing process. It was important for me to not view the birthing process as just pain. Of course there is pain involved, but it’s pain with a purpose.

Time to Level Up: My Experience With Baby #2

To God be the glory, my husband and I have not struggled with the process of conceiving a child. In fact, it only took one try for our second daughter. Well, we weren’t actively trying lol, but we definitely got lazy on my first day of ovulation *smacks forehead*. Needless to say, we have yet to experience pregnancy the conventional/traditional way. Our original plan was for me to continue to lose weight and to start trying in August of 2017, on our wedding anniversary. That mission was a complete fail. I became pregnant in January and gave birth in October. Unlike my first pregnancy, I knew right away. I remember being at the gym, barely able to keep my eyes open, and I could not for the life of me make it through my workout without having to pee every 7-10 minutes. I decided to purchase a digital pregnancy test from CVS afterwards on my way home, while James was still at work.

Of course I had to use the bathroom as soon as I made it in the house, so I couldn’t take the test right away; it’s a pain getting the test out of the wrapper when you’re in a rush to pee.  When I took the test, I was 80% sure that I was pregnant, but the other 20% was convinced I was experiencing PMS since I was expecting my cycle that week. As I waited for the results, I went back and forth between “I know I’m not pregnant” and “girl you know the very moment it happened!” Within minutes the test read “pregnant.”

At the time James, Taniya and I were back home living with my mother. I almost walked in her room to spill the beans, but I walked straight to my room and threw the test in my trash can instead. I tried so hard to wait until James got home, but he was taking so long to drive back up from Virginia.  I couldn’t hold it in anymore so I called and told him at the truck stop he was parked at for his break. To my surprise he was excited, shouted it to the other drivers around him, and kept saying “I knew it!”

I found out on a Saturday, so I scheduled my appointment with George Washington Midwifery Services on the upcoming Monday. The funny thing is, because of my lack of preparation and experience from my first pregnancy, I had already completed all of my research for this pregnancy in 2016. Maybe I jinxed myself? At the beginning of 2016 I started the search for a good midwife. When searching for a midwife, that then led me to a search for a doula. James and I had already gone to a “meet and greet” with the midwives at GW Hospital, so I already knew who to call once I was pregnant.

As soon as you know you’re pregnant, that’s when the all the symptoms start to come through. I immediately began to experience morning sickness. My struggle wasn’t vomiting, it was the terrible feeling of being nauseous nonstop and not having the ability to vomit. For those of you who haven’t experienced pregnancy, but have been miserably drunk before, it’s the painful feeling of closing your eyes and then feeling the room spin around, but only resulting to dry heaving.  I could smell the food restaurants were cooking while driving with the windows up, I could smell someone’s breath from across the room, I slept like a bear in hibernation and the constant urination persisted.

Since I knew I was pregnant so early (4 weeks to be exact), I had to wait a few more weeks before confirming the pregnancy with the hospital. My midwifery team preferred that you be at least 7 weeks along so that they can have a more successful ultrasound. I say team because that’s exactly what I had. I had a lead midwife by the name of Whitney, that’s who most of my visits were with, but I also had an appointment with several others because you never knew who would be on call the day/night you would be in labor and delivery. I loved that Whitney went with the size of the baby to estimate my due date, and used my last menstrual cycle as a reference. The baby’s size really gave us the best estimation. When she said that, it reminded me of my pregnancy with Taniya. My due date was based on my last menstrual cycle, but when I went to the hospital to be induced a week later, I was in early labor. That was the due date that I was actually given by a sonographer because of the baby’s measurements.

My first appointment changed my life and was one for the books. Since we were new to our home set up with James being the sole provider and me being a SAHM, we decided that it was best for him to go to work. It wasn’t our first rodeo, and we figured that he would be able to make all the others to come. Instead, my mother-in-law came as my support. Whitney came into the room with the brightest energy that filled the entire place. After introducing ourselves and getting through the verbal assessment, it was time to do the physical examination. She used the speculum (I like to call them duck lips) to open my vagina, and then handed me a mirror. I thought she needed it in order to see better, but she said “Ok take a look.” I responded “Oh my goodness, sure!” I could see the inside of my vagina walls, my cervix and the cervical mucus. That may sound gross to some, but it was an amazing experience. We are always taught about our bodies, but never get the experience to explore our anatomy in the way our doctors do. I’m so glad that I’ve known my mother-in-law since I was 14 and that she had already seen my naked body from being present for my first delivery. Homegirl was all up in the mirror LOL. But she too had a job to fulfill! Whitney handed my mother-in-law a tube to open and close once she placed the big q-tip used to take a culture of my cervix. I knew from that very moment that I was in for an out-of-this world experience with this pregnancy. Natural and involved is what I wanted, and that’s what I was getting.

To be continued…