Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Christina’s birth story is actually four stories, because she wanted to show how different each pregnancy can be, even for the same mama. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
I know firsthand that births are all different.
1st Pregnancy: Single Motherhood, Induction, & Retained Placenta
When I was 21, I discovered I was going to give birth to a beautiful girl as a single parent. The pregnancy was normal, and I loved being pregnant. I was never sick. I felt great, gained 60 pounds, and felt beautiful. I was induced a week early at 39 weeks as I was measuring big. I wanted an all natural birth and my dad and mom were my coaches. Wow, being induced was so different from what TV makes it out to be. I hurt, my broken waters felt warm and weird, and being told I could no longer get up from the bed did not help with my back pain.
Time passed from 7:00 pm to the next evening at 9:10 pm, and I had my little girl by a vaginal delivery. After I had her, my doctor said my placenta did not come out and she would need to do a D&C (dilation & curettage) to get it out. I felt lots of pressure but I was on Cloud 9 so it didn’t bother me. What amazed me was how it hurt while giving birth, and then it all went away. It still blows my mind.
I was determined to nurse my baby. She latched on great and ate well. However about 30 minutes after every feeding, she would cry and her tummy got tight. My doctor said to put her on soy formula and stop nursing so I did. My mom nursed all of us, but she was in agreement with the doctor. I wish I had had a community then to help me through that time in my life.
2nd Pregnancy: Anterior Placenta and C-Section
So fast forward, and I got married. We were so happy but struggled with infertility. We did meds and then were told it was time to do IVF which was not for us, so we decided to do foster care. We were to start classes the same week I found out we were pregnant. We were so happy!
This pregnancy was different then my first. I was now 28 and weighed more, but still so happy. With this baby, I had an anterior placenta. My placenta was placed in a way so I could never feel my baby move. Lots of weekly checks with ultrasound, then heart dopplers, then non-stress tests. Other then never feeling her move, I felt great. We had decided not to induce unless I went 2 weeks late, but when we were at a non-stress test four days before my due date the nurse came in and let us know I was having contractions. I was happy these were nothing compared to the contractions of being induced. I could not feel them, but with each contraction the baby’s heartbeat was dropping so we were sent for an ultrasound. Our baby was breech. I was told to come back for a c-section the next day.
It was very scary being in the cold room. I had a spinal to numb me before they allowed my husband in. When the doctor was ready to bring my baby out they lowered the blue drape so I could see her coming out. She was beautiful! The nurses cleaned her up, and I was not able to hold her until back in my room. Unfortunately, she did not nurse well. The staff wanted to add formula to the nursing, but I refused. I had an amazing nurse who brought in a breast pump. She helped me pump then syringe feed her while still nursing. My baby lost 8% of weight in hospital but never had any formula. I nursed her until she was 2 1/2.
3rd Pregnancy: Loss
When my baby was one, we became pregnant again. For someone who had struggled to get pregnant, I was having babies left and right now! We went in for a 6-week check and everything was great except an anterior placenta again. When we came back at 8 weeks, the ultrasound showed no heartbeat. Our baby had grown wings and gone to heaven. Nursing my little one on demand helped with the grieving process as she still needed me.
4th Pregnancy: Our Rainbow Baby
Fast forward again, and 2 years after my miscarriage I was pregnant with our rainbow baby. Again I had the same placenta problem so I had weekly checks, which I appreciated as I worried every day that my baby would die again. I didn’t feel the same joy as I did with the others as I was so worried I would miscarry again, that it was just a matter of time. But I didn’t. I had another c-section and delivered a beautiful girl.
I got skin to skin contact like I did with my first, and that feeling of peace and love was so overwhelming. It was amazing having our rainbow baby. She was born at 39 weeks and weighed 9 pounds 4 ounces so we had to do blood sugar checks before each feeding. It was tough to poke her just so I could nurse. It was not going as the doctor hoped so he wanted me to use formula. I refused. They brought me a pump and I syringe-fed her while nursing. We are now nearing 2 years in May of on demand breast milk.
This time I was wiser and had a great community to turn to. We got our friend to take these pictures of my c-section, but I was hurt that the photos were reported on Facebook by someone so they had to come down. Share your birth photos. They are amazing and beautiful!