The awesome Olga Zelzburg, David (2.5) and Alice (5 months).
"I come from Russia, I was born when it was still USSR. There is an infamous phrase that one TV person uttered once: there is no sex in Soviet Union. 25 years passed since that time, but body, sexuality and relationships are still pretty much a taboo in my homeland. There are stereotypes of what a "true" woman, wife, mother should look like, what pregnancy and birth fit into the "right" picture. I myself am no exception of these stereotypes."
Olga and her husband moved to the US for graduate school and recently moved from Upstate New York to Miami. Olga's pregnancies went very well and she found them to be quite enjoyable. She knew that she wanted to give birth in hospital so that she could try all of the tools they had available and receive an epidural when things became painful for her. She carried past 41 weeks when she was induced for low amniotic fluid. Things progressed well and she enjoyed trying the jacuzzi tub, birthing ball and walking the halls. She received her epidural when things became difficult and had a very positive birth experience.
Olga felt compelled to breastfeed David and nursed exclusively before beginning to supplement with formula which was a happy addition to their routine. He was never very attached to nursing and weaned at a year old.
Olga had given birth to David while they were living in New York and had planned to give birth to Alice there as well, but at 30 weeks pregnant her husband took a job in Miami that caused them to relocate. She was worried about finding a new care provider who would be as supportive as her first but found a doctor through their local Jewish community who she was happy with and reassured her. She tested positive for Group B strep so her doctor decided to induce at 39 weeks.
Things were a bit different this time however as she was made to stay in bed with her IV in one arm and the blood pressure cuff tethered to her other arm. She wasn't able to lay down fully or get out of bed and found it much more difficult to cope with the pain. She requested an epidural but the anesthesiologist was busy with a cesarean and then another birthing mother. She says that if she had been hold she wouldn't be able to have an epidural she could have brought herself to a different headspace but her nurse kept telling her that he would be there in 5 minutes, then another 5 minutes, then 5 minutes more but he never came. She was grateful at the very least that things progressed rather quickly and though it was very painful, Alice was soon there. Breastfeeding this time has been quite different in that Alice loves to nurse and they haven't needed to supplement.
Olga wishes that there was more support and less judgment regarding women's choices. If a woman makes an educated decision, that is right for her, then that's all that should be of importance.