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.