The amazing Ashly Albright, Oliver (4) and Henry (2).
Ashly was only 21 when she delivered Oliver and at the time, didn't really know that there was any option other than going into the hospital and doing things as they wanted her to. Her water broke but labor didn't begin on it's own so they had to push Pitocin the following day. She went from not feeling anything to having intense contractions and got an epidural to help her cope with the pain. Once the epidural kicked in she fell asleep and woke up ready to push but felt very disconnected from the whole experience. She wasn't present in the moment and was in and out during the 2.5 hours she was pushing. Once Oliver was born she was shaking so badly that she didn't feel she could safely hold him.
While there wasn't anything that that went wrong, the experience was much different than she had expected and knew she wanted to do things different with Henry. She began her pregnancy with an OB but switched to midwives at a birthing center around 20 weeks. She was blown away by the amount of time her midwives were able to spend with her during her appointments and how much truly wanted to know how she was doing. She was laboring at home but handling things very well, she kept waiting for things to get worse but was still able to talk and smile following contractions, much different than how she'd felt with Pitocin induced contractions.
As they headed into the birth center she told herself that if she was at 6cms that would be great, and was thrilled to learn she was 8cms when they got there. She labored for about an hour more before she was ready to push and only pushed for about 15 minutes before he arrived earth side. She found the experience of being in control and being able to feel connected with her body, so healing.
Breastfeeding how gone well with both Oliver and Henry. Ashley weaned Oliver just after his first birthday because she didn't know much about the benefits of nursing longer. With Henry she didn't set out with any goals in mind and just kept an open mind to continuing for as long as they both felt good about it. Her family is in a transitional time right now, preparing to move to another country and being able to nurse him has provided a constant that has helped them both.
Ashly says that while she hasn't struggled so much with how she looks on the outside, she doesn't always feeling great on the inside. While pregnant with Henry, her father passed away unexpectedly just a month before he was born. Soon after her Grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died just a month after Henry arrived. Her Grandfather also passed just a few weeks later and navigating it all has been quite difficult for her. She's struggled with her father never being able to meet her son or even know if he was a boy or a girl. All of the loss she has endured has made her the last thing in focus. She's hoping to get back to that space because in order to truly have the open love for others she strives to she has to truly love herself first.