The lovely Kayla Mundt and Judah Leo (12 months). Kayla's husband had a family history of male factor fertility issues so they decided to start trying a little earlier than they had planned thinking it would take a long time. Instead, Kayla says, they got a hole in one so Judah's conception came as a bit of a surprise even though they were trying. Kayla loved being pregnant with the exception of the few weeks she developed PUPPS in her late third trimester, which she describes as the absolute worst thing she's ever been through in her life but it resolved before the end of her pregnancy. Kayla and her husband knew they wanted to birth out of hospital, found a midwife who would assist a home birth and per regulations in Louisiana she was cleared by an OB. Kayla and her husband didn't however, tell anyone else what they were planning to do which presented a bit of a problem when her mom decided she was going to come into town for the birth at the last minute. Kayla hadn't experienced any Braxton-hicks contractions so she knew when her first contraction began that it was the real thing. She carried to 41 weeks + 5 and went into labor in the middle of the night. A few hours later when her team arrived she was already at 5cm. A day and a half later she was confused why it was light again and learned she'd been laboring for nearly 40 hours. Judah was occipital posterior so they began to talk about transferring but she changed her mind and got some rest. Hours later they decided to transfer without it being an emergency and she got an epidural. She took a nap after her epidural and Judah was able to turn. She had the medication turned off began to push but Judah had shoulder dystocia and got a bit stuck. Kayla's doctor had to reach in to pull him out and saw a lot of meconium present.
Worried about all the meconium, they had to immediately cut Judah's cord and took him away to suction before he took his first breath. Kayla began to hemorrhage but didn't realize how serious it was as she was focused on her baby. Before she knew it the director of the children's hospital nearby came in to talk to her and told her they wanted to transfer him to the NICU there. They agreed to the transfer and she wasn't able to see him until she was released 3 days later. Kayla says that going into her labor and delivery she didn't have a lot of expectations but she was very looking forward to having him on her chest and meeting him. She didn't get to meet her son for three days and didn't get to hold him for a week and a half, when she was "allowed' to hold him but was made to wear a gown.
Kayla says her NICU experience was horrible. The hospital wasn't mother or baby friendly and didn't at all provide the support she needed. She was pumping for Judah but had oversupply and even with that was threatened with formula if she didn't make more. The hospital told her they had never had a mom who wanted to breastfeed and scoffed at her requests to refrain from giving him pacifiers and bottles. She says she learned to play their game and follow their rules to Ng and bottle feed him for his "feeds" while she continued to work on his latch privately knowing she'd have him at home eventually.
Judah ended up staying in NICU for 22 days and Kayla says she felt like they were in NICU jail. Judah was doing great and they wanted him home but kept being faced with new milestones that needed to be met for his discharge. She is grateful that he got the support he needed initially but has struggled with feeling like her son spent his first month in the NICU unnecessarily. She eventually rounded up the doctors and told them that she would be taking her son home in two days. They ultimately agreed and he was finally discharged. Kayla has continued to deal with the aftermath of those first few rough weeks. The things she missed out on when he was newborn and having someone tell her how to mother, what she was and wasn't allowed to do.
Kayla worked hard once home to manage her oversupply and overactive let down to transition Judah from bottles to breast. She says it was frustrating and exhausting but little by little they got there and he's still going strong.
Kayla says she doesn't know if moms don't honestly share or if it's that she just doesn't know anyone who has had difficulty but reading other women's stories and seeing them come out the other side strong and beautiful has left her feeling connected and not alone. When she was struggling with those long days of Judah in the NICU she would read other women's stories and know that some day she too would be on the other side strong and healthy. She wanted to mark this moment to show that they have both survived.