The wonderful Jill O'Donohue and Henrik (2.5)
While Jill dealt with some early spotting and concerns with HCG levels early in her pregnancy she says that trusting in her body, nature and "what was meant to be, will be" got her through and she was able to enjoy pregnancy. She was grateful to have an "easy" pregnancy and felt well all 42 weeks. Labor was a long 34 hours but she didn't dilate past 6cms so Henrik came into the world via cesarean. "I was very anxious about labour in the later part of pregnancy, it was so hard to know what to expect and everybody sharing their opinions on "natural birth" vs. use of medication. All I knew was I wanted a healthy baby. My perceptions of birth without medication (being told so many times "your body was made to do this") made me feel as though I shouldn't use drugs. In the end, I asked to have an epidural and I do not regret it. I realized the drugs did not make me weak, but allowed me to do what needed to be done. I brought a perfect, tiny boy into this world. It was with drugs and not vaginal, but I look at my c-section scar with pride, not disappointment for "what could have been."
Birth is beautiful - regardless of how it happens.
Breastfeeding didn't come easily for Jill and milk production was a big challenge. She knew she wanted to breastfeed, but felt tremendous pressure from nurses in the hospital and public nurses visiting her at home. "I was made to feel as though anything but 100% breast feeding was a failure". They tried SNS feeding at the nurses' insistence that they had to maintain his comfort with her nipple while they waited for her milk to come in. "The stress in our home with SNS feeds, poor production when I tried to pump (to stimulate milk) and a hungry 8Lb 13 oz baby was too much. I will never forget the moment my husband said "why are we doing this SNS stuff? Let's give this baby some formula from a bottle and continue to work on breast feeding". I could feel my entire body relax".
They eventually found their groove with a combo of breast feeding and formula feeds. The "best of both worlds" as they saw it and she used Domperidone throughout their 15 months of nursing time to increase milk production. Jill has always known she wanted to be a mom and feels grateful for her own mom, who as a single mom was strong and gentle in the perfect way.
"It wasn't until I got pregnant that I was able to appreciate my body for what it is. I have always struggled with self esteem and body image. I am not a tiny person and never have been. Becoming a mom taught me to embrace who I am and that my body is both remarkable and beautiful. Never in a million years, would I have had my photo taken in underwear before I was a mom. Now, I want to show the world that being a mom takes strength, imperfections and love. I am proud of who I am and the mom that I am. I am in love with this this journey, honoured to say "I am Henrik's mom" and proud of the person I am - inside and out."