The stunning Sadie Stanclift, Pearson (4), and Callan (22 months).
Sadie's motherhood journey didn’t exactly go as she had always planned. She says that she believe's in natural birth and has always had a strong frustration with the system in which woman are taught that they can’t, that they aren’t strong enough, that they need help and that labor is something to fear. She doesn't think any of that is true and believes that women were made to do this, and can.
With their first child, she was dedicated to an unmedicated minimal intervention birth and did everything she could to prepare for that - midwife, doula, birth classes, etc. but in the end, she says, it wasn’t meant to be. Pearson had bound his umbilical cord in a way that would not allow him to move down and out and his birth ended in a general anesthesia cesarean section after reaching the pushing phase. While this was devastating for Sadie as she had advocated, planned and believed in natural birth, it was incredibly traumatic for her husband, because the surgery was performed under general anesthesia and he was not allowed in the room.
Sadie wasn’t awake and her husband wasn’t there when they became parents for the first time, they both struggled for a long time, and depending on the day they still do. Breastfeeding is also something she has always been passionate about, and she became even more dedicated and passionate as a result of her cesarean. "Feeling like I had failed to give my baby the birth that he deserved, there was no way I wasn’t going to nurse him." They called him a barracuda at the hospital, and she was in a lot of pain but wasn’t going to give up until he was ready to be done. Throughout her breastfeeding journey she had mastitis, milk blisters, and regularly occurring mystery pain. She saw multiple lactation consultants, multiple breastfeeding educators, an OB, and multiple midwives. No one could figure out what was happening and just kept coming back to it being something wrong with her anatomy or the flow of her ducts.
When Pearson was 20 months old, a friend said something about lip tie, and upon further investigation he absolutely has one. Based on his age at that point they opted not to pursue revision, as he wasn’t relying on breastmilk as his primary source of nutrition anymore and it didn’t seem to be bothering him otherwise. Nursing was still very painful, but they had made it that far and still weren't going to give up.
When Pearson turned 2, they decided to get pregnant again though they were both fearful of another traumatic birth experience. Nursing had always been very painful, but nursing while pregnant took it to a whole new level but Sadie decided to allow him to continue as long as he wanted. She was faced with some major choices to make, VBAC or repeat cesarean, Midwife or OB, same hospital or new hospital. Ultimately, she was confident that VBAC was the right option for them, based on the circumstances of their first birth. After much thought and discussion she decided she wanted a clean slate and chose a new provider and location. They opted for an OB, who was a solo practitioner, reasoning that if she was going to need another cesarean she wanted to know who was performing the surgery and wanted the doctor to know her.
This pregnancy was uncomplicated and labor was long. They went to the doctor’s office in early labor for a regularly scheduled appointment and then went to the hospital in the middle of the night to check in on things. Having made very little progress, she decided it was best to go home and rest where there was less pressure. Finally, the next afternoon, Callan made his grand entrance minutes after her water broke at the bottom of her stairs as they attempted to leave to go to the hospital. "I got my VBAC, my body and my baby did what we were supposed to do and it was the most amazing moment of our lives. We went from traumatic with our first to dramatic with our second. That first birth was just a brief introduction into how much control you lose when you bring a child into your life. It’s a crazy, awesome, uncontrollable ride."
Over four years removed from her first birth experience, Sadie has begun to process things differently. "My baby and my body weren’t able to work together the way nature planned and I have a scar that has faded both physically and metaphorically, but it’s still very much part of my life. I have embraced that experience and I use it now as a chapter co-leader for ICAN of Kansas City to help other moms find ways to heal from their scars and their trauma."