The amazing Amanda Wagner, Colton (3.5) and Finn (7.5 months)
Conception came simply for Amanda and her husband. He's in the National Gaurd and was home for a spell when they decided to try expanding their family. She was very surprised to learn she was pregnant just 3 weeks later. Pregnancy was great with Colton and though Amanda was educated and prepared she says that she didn't quite know the woman who she would be in labor until it happened. Her water broke the morning of her due date and she went into the hospital to labor. They didn't quite believe her that it was time and were in the process of discharging her when her water broke and they allowed her to stay. Even though she hadn't had any medication, she was made to labor in bed and wasn't even allowed to get up to use the restroom. By the time that Amanda got to 7cms she was having a very difficult time and didn't feel supported. She also struggled to advocate for herself because she didn't want to go against the authority of those in place to provide her care. While Colton was born without complication Amanda ended up getting an epidural she'd hoped to avoid and was given an episiotomy without her consent. She couldn't help but feel her 36+ hour labor wasn't shorter in part due to her inability to listen to her body and change positions.
Feeling so disconnected and out of control throughout her birth made it difficult for Amanda to feel connected to her baby. She was able to successfully breastfeed and placed a lot of weight on that relationship but had a difficult time processing her whole experience. She knew that if she had another baby she'd want things to go differently and when the time came, evaluated all of her options. Not comfortable paying for their birth out of pocket and somewhat limited by their military insurance plan, Amanda decided to expand her search for a care provider out of their small town and into Tampa, the closest city. There she was able to find hospital based midwives at a location that had just received "baby-friendly" certification and she chose to hire a doula to help support her as well.
Amanda had a healthy pregnancy with Finn though she had a lot of pain in her third trimester due to his low position. He also had one hand up near his head and occasionally scratched her cervix which she says was just as uncomfortable as it sounds. When the time came, the morning of her due date once again, Amanda labored at home with her family and doula for several hours before deciding to head to the hospital 45 minutes away. She was 7cms when she arrived and was amazed that everything in her birth plan she'd been told no to before were simply policy at this hospital. She labored in the water with intermittent monitoring until she reached 9cms when she transferred to the bed and delivered Finn after only 20 minutes of pushing. Amanda fondly recalled how different this postpartum period was and she enjoyed her feelings of accomplishment greatly. She was able to have immediate skin to skin with Finn and after about 30 minutes he wiggled down on his own and began nursing.
While this birth was amazing, postpartum was a bit more difficult for Amanda the second time around. Finn had a lip and tongue tie that needed to be revised and at 6 days old he developed a fever due to a virus and had to be hospitalized for 3 days. She initially felt like was somehow paying for having a positive birth experience but things have gone very well since.
Amanda's body is much different now than it was before children. She isn't unhappy with it, it's just different and has taken some adjusting to. Her strength is incredibly important to her so she's trying to focus there and has begun running again; continually hoping to progress forward and cultivate a healthy relationship with her new self, as a woman and a mother.