Margaret Laufman Saselu and Elizabeth Marie (13 months)
Margaret conceived the first time they tried and they we were completely shocked as they thought it would take a little while. The shock quickly turned into excitement. Unfortunately, she had an early miscarriage at 7 weeks. They went to the emergency room which was a terrible experience and she says the only saving grace was one of the nurses who snuck into my room and told her what no one else was - that she was having a miscarriage, that she would be OK, and that she would get pregnant again. She shared her story of having multiple loses and going on to have a healthy baby.
She quickly became pregnant after the miscarriage, but she and her husband were cautiously optimistic. At the time she was with an OBGYN practice that had multiple doctors and some had much better bed side manner than others. They did all the tests and sonograms and it seemed like each time there was something else they were warned about (high nuchal, or heart issues, etc). When Margaret thinks back about her pregnancy, her memories are filled with the happy days in her third trimester. "It seems so indulgent now! But when I really stop and think about the entire journey, I forget how stressful it was".
In August 2015, they began their birth class with a Bradley Instructor. They learned so much on the first day and the class affirmed their hesitations with their current OBGYN practice so she decided to transfer to midwifery care at 25 weeks. "From that moment on, it was like a lightbulb that went on. My husband and I became excited and optimistic". Margaret became confident in her body and its ability to house and birth the growing baby. She asked her birth instructor to be her doula and labor began two days after her due date.
Early labor began at midnight, and by 6am contractions were about 10 minutes apart. By 7pm they were steadily 3-5 minutes apart. She labored through the night and headed to the hospital around 1am the following day. When they arrived Melanie she was 8cm and they assumed the baby would be earthside in 2-3 hours but things didn't work out that way. She labored and labored and labored and though she was fully dilated she felt no urge to push. Her team tried everything - "We did rebozo, re-positioning, broke my waters, used acupuncture, nothing. I had no urge".
Margaret pushed for 4 hours before they called the OB in. She kept pushing but they finally decided they needed to use the vacuum. "I agreed. But I started panicking. This is where it gets blurry. The room filled up with a lot of people. My husband, Kathy, and the L&D nurse who had been with us were right by my side. Melanie and the Obgyn and the resident were by my feet. They tried two pulls of vacuum and it was not working. Melanie was pushing on my stomach. She finally looked at me and said we have one more shot to get this baby out, on this pull we are getting the baby out do you understand? Thats when my husband freaked out and lunged at the doctor and said "You cut her, I saw you cut her!" and said he was going to kill him. Apparently the doctor, anticipating a very hard delivery, performed and episiotomy. The doctor calmly responded to my husband that he had to make the cut to save the baby. My midwife had me look at her and I pushed and out came the head, then the rest of the baby, and I remember looking down and seeing it was a girl and feeling such a profound sense of relief and joy."
Unfortunately, they had to take the baby over to be examined before placing her on Margaret's chest. It seemed like hours, but it was less than 5 minutes. She began nursing within 30 minutes and she was and is a happy and healthy baby. The reason why it became such a difficult labor was because she had an 8 inch umbilical cord -(Normal cords average 24 inches), no one in the delivery room had every seen a cord that short.
"There were a number of 'negatives' surrounding my birth story. The physical recovery from the episiotomy was harder than anything I could have ever imagined. My midwife drew a diagram showing how the episiotomy was as severe as they get, it went right into my muscle which is why it was hard walking, sitting, moving. The mental recovery in dealing with the circumstances surrounding the birth was tough. My husband told me afterwards that there was a palpable feeling of fear/tension in the room in the minutes leading up to the birth of Elizabeth. I felt physically strong throughout pregnancy and birth. The breastfeeding was the best gift to come out of the labor. Elizabeth latched on immediately and has not let go. I read somewhere a mother describing that she became more sensitive to the world after the birth of her child. I understand what that means now. I can relate to that feeling, and also the intense feeling of having to be a strong role model, a strong woman for my daughter. I feel responsible for having to take up the fight against all injustices so that she can live in a better world.
The birth of my daughter awakened this connection to "sisterhood" in me, and my perception of my body and what it was capable of put me in awe. I've never been more comfortable with my body than I have during pregnancy and after childbirth."