The beautiful Brittany North and Noah (18 months).
Brittany is a nurse who works in labor and delivery at a local hospital and birthing center, when she got pregnant herself she always just thought she would deliver with the doctors in her practice. She knew them, she was comfortable there, so why not. Her husband was flipping through Netflix one night, however, and came across, 'The Business of Being Born' and asked if she'd seen it. They began to question if they should look into the local birth center themselves. Brittany she was dealing with a serious bout of Hyperemisis Gravidarum but her pregnancy was otherwise progressing well and everyone was on board so they transferred care to a midwife.
Brittany was working full time at the hospital throughout her pregnancy and her HG was so severe she often needed IV medication and fluids at the end of long shifts but she was making it work. When she was about 28 weeks along her midwife suggested she go down to part time because while Noah was doing well, she was exhausted and growing thin. Brittany listened to her and said she'd consider it but kept on working. Again, past 30 weeks her midwife offered the same advice and Brittany kept working. Finally, when she was 34 weeks, 3 days she went into her midwife and was told that an ultrasound showed her son was only measuring 30 weeks, his fluid was very low and her cervix was dilated. Because of this, her care was transferred back to her OB, which was fine, she was happy there too, but they decided to recheck her for peace of mind.
The follow up ultrasound revealed that Noah was measuring accurately for his dates and his fluid was just fine but she was dilated. The doctor wasn't surprised with all that she had been working but wanted to give her some fluids and observe for awhile. As they continued to check her the OB realized that she was contracting. While Brittany hadn't felt anything, she was already in labor. They hooked her up to the electronic fetal monitor and sure enough, beautiful waves of contractions. She stayed in the hospital and slept and labored and was very well supported. When she learned that a doctor was coming on with a high cesarean rate she asked for her waters to be ruptured and things progressed quickly from there.
Noah was born vaginally without complication at 34 weeks, 3 days. Brittany was able to hold him skin to skin for a few minutes but his breathing was shallow so he had to be taken up to NICU soon after. He stayed for a week and she was able to stay in the hospital with him. She wasn't able to hold him for the first few days or breastfeed but a lactation nurse who she knew came on and advocated for her to have skin to skin time and start nursing. It was difficult at first but they got the hang of it and are still nursing today. Brittany says, she tries to let new mothers know that breastfeeding is very hard at first but once you get through those first few weeks it gets so much easier.
It wasn't until Noah was about a year old that Brittany realized that she was not doing well at all. She had thoughts of pulling out in front of an 18 wheeler and realized she needed to seek help. She began taking Zoloft and was amazed that a little blue pill could give her back her life. Brittany says she doesn't know how she went so long without being able to see what was right in front of her but there was likely some denial that postpartum depression was happening to her. She hopes that other women don't feel ashamed if PPD hits them and makes a point to tell all of the mothers she works with that if they are sad for more than a couple of weeks that it's okay to ask for help.