The amazing Ashley Urbanick-Miley, Dylan (4) and Ellie (8 weeks).
Ashley went into her first pregnancy open minded that her doctor would listen to her desires and support her, while guiding her through the process of pregnancy and birth. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as she'd hoped. Once Ashley's labor began and she arrived at the hospital, she was hooked up to an IV and made to lie down to labor on her back. While her labor progressed fairly quickly, she was given an episiotomy without prior consent and developed a 4th degree tear. Ashley's postpartum period and path to healing was both long and difficult. She didn't want to leave her bed with her baby for her first two months and dealt with depression she feels was directly related. Ashley's milk supply was also affected and her sex life was greatly impacted as it was two years before she was comfortable enough to feel good about things. She feels very fortunate to have connected with a group of women who were able to donate milk to Dylan and helped her to realize that as horrible as things had been, she wasn't alone.
Going into her second pregnancy, Ashley was worried about tearing again but knew that she wanted to give birth at home with a midwife. Her pregnancy progressed well and she carried two weeks post dates before going into labor. Ashley's husband arrived home from work at around 11:30pm and her daughter was born, into his arms, just an hour later before her doula and midwife had a chance to get there. While Ashley tore a little bit, her midwife was able to stitch her up at home and her recovery has been so much easier than with her first. She has been able to focus on and connect with her daughter in these early weeks with clarity. Breastfeeding is going well; mentally and physically she just feels so much better.
Talking about the benefits of milk sharing and the realities of vaginal tearing were both very important topics for Ashley to address in sharing her story. She was afraid to talk about it for quite some time after Dylan was born, and couldn't do so without crying, but over time she has found an amazing community of women online willing to share their experiences. That honesty and openness in motherhood is so beneficial to us all.