The marvelous Cindy Mann with her daughter Stella (4.5) and sons Cato (3) and Milo (6 months).
When Cindy became pregnant with her first she went in for an early sonogram. She was told they had good news and really good news. There was one healthy heart beat. And another healthy heartbeat. She was carrying twins. Cindy was happy to be pregnant but said she said a lot of cuss words. She went back a week later and says that, when she was told one of the babies no longer had a heart beat she "was honestly relieved". The rest of her pregnancy proceeded without complication and she found a homebirth midwife to assist her pregnancy and birth. Cindy's water broke at exactly 40 weeks but contractions didn't come. After about 24 hours, the midwife came to check her but the baby's heartbeat seemed off so she suggested going to the hospital. Thankfully everything checked out just fine and she was able to go home. Her midwife had instructed her to take a castor oil concoction to get things started if she hadn't progressed. She took the castor oil in the morning and 4 hours later, everything started moving. After laboring for 30 hours, pushing 7 of those, she felt that she needed to go to the hospital. They called the hospital to arrange for a transfer but were told because her water had been broken for 72 hours and she hadn't had the Group B Strep test, her daughter would have to spend a week in NICU regardless of how she was born. It was then she decided she was going to try again to deliver at home. She took more Castor Oil and was finally able to push her out. Cindy believes it's important to note that her midwives were able to give her IV antibiotics, she had a catheter, they were able to stitch up a tear and give her a shot of pitocin. She and Stella had a great breastfeeding relationship other than a bout of thrush and some clogged ducts.
She conceived Cato when Stella was about 15 months old and had another healthy pregnancy. Once again her water broke but contractions didn't start so she took Castor Oil after 24 hours. She embraced the contractions this time rather than try to avoid them. Her son was born 11 minutes after her midwife arrived in just two pushes. She had some discomfort breastfeeding at first but was able to successfully nurse for his first year. She wasn't certain if she wanted a third but after some time decided she really did and was able to have another healthy pregnancy with Milo. She thought her water had broke near term and took Castor Oil but nothing happened. After talking to her midwife she realized that perhaps her water hadn't broken. She had a sonogram and learned that her water was intact and her baby looked great. Her water broke and contractions started a few hours later. She labored in the tub and then started pushing but she didn't feel like things were working or that she was doing it right. Her midwife told her that the baby would come out if she just let him. Everyone became quiet she began relaxing and talking to her son. Things started to progress again and Milo came out posterior, cried right away and latched right to her breast.
Cindy says she is proud of her body and her babies, this is what she feels meant to do. Her family is her best accomplishment right now but she feels she's lost herself a little bit in the process. She wants to begin to embrace herself again and celebrate her body for all it's done.