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Real Baby and Birth Stories from Real Women

Birth Story of Jennifer Lieselotte Judith Tarn Archbold

My pregnancy with Jennifer had been by far the easiest of the three pregnancies I had. I had no morning sickness at all with her. Half the time I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I worked in a Swine Nutrition lab at the time, so some of my duties had to be altered, so I wouldn’t be exposed to dangerous chemicals. I also had a small business as a lactation consultant.

I was very healthy through the whole pregnancy. I continued to bicycle to work until 25 weeks. My blood pressure was always really low, and I had no issues with diabetes.

I had arranged things with the lab so that I would work until 38 weeks (November 25th) and take 2 weeks’ vacation before starting my maternity leave. I took the bus to and from work right up until the last day. My labmates had a small pizza party for my last day and they gave me a gift card and some homemade muffins.

On Saturday we made a trip out to Ikea to buy the crib mattress and the bug lamp for over the change table. On Sunday we tidied a bit around the house, and I took the kids to swimming lessons that evening. I had planned on keeping the car on Monday to do the grocery shopping and get some cleaning-up done in the house in preparation for the baby.

At about 1:30 on Monday morning, I woke up in a big puddle. At first I wondered if I had wet the bed, and then as I woke up further, I realised that my water had broken. I woke up Tyler to get him to help me change the sheets and set the bed up for the birth. I had no contractions. We called the midwife and Nadine asked if the fluid was clear (it was) and if I was having contractions (I wasn’t). I had a regularly-scheduled 38-week appointment for 11:30 that morning. Nadine said that if I didn’t have any contractions by then to just go the clinic for the appointment.

Tyler went back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep, so I texted my friend in Australia to tell her what happened. We ended up chatting by facetime for a few minutes. I went back to bed at about 3:00 a.m.

In the morning I still had no contractions, so we sent Jackson and Thomas off to school. I called my parents to give them a heads-up, and intended to drive Tyler to work so I would have the car for the midwife appointment. After a minute I got nervous that if my labour started I wouldn’t be able to drive back to get him, so I called my parents to come down so they could take me to the appointment. Tyler went off to work.

My parents arrived at about 10:30 a.m. Tyler came home shortly after that. In the meantime I had swept, vacuumed, and washed the floors, still with no contractions. Tyler set up at the dining room table and frantically put together some supply teacher plans while my parents and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood.

At 11:30, Tyler and I went to the midwives’. I was still leaking like crazy but had no contractions. Sarah felt my belly and we talked about what our options were. We decided that we would wait until the morning. If the baby wasn’t born by 9:00 a.m., we would have to go the the hospital for an induction.

Tyler and I came back to the house and had lunch with my parents. Tyler continued to work on his supply plans and went grocery shopping. My parents and I continued to go for walks in hope of triggering my labour. My mom and I tidied up the bedroom to get ready for the birth. We also taped shower curtains to the floor to protect the carpet.

At about 2:30, I went upstairs for some alone time so that I could nap and try some nipple stimulation to get labour started. I was able to trigger some contractions, but as soon as I stopped, the contractions would stop.

We had dinner at about 5:30, and I finally started to feel some faint irregular contractions. We called Sarah, and she said to call back when they were more regular and strong. Tyler and I went back upstairs to spend some time together. At about 6:30, we managed to get some strong contractions started, so we called the midwife to come.

My contractions were going well – until the midwives showed up and started setting up their equipment. Then my contractions stopped and we couldn’t get them going again. I tried going into the boys’ room with the lights off and with a lot of nipple stimulation we could get some contractions started, but they wouldn’t keep going on their own.

Sarah listened to the baby’s heartbeat (it was fine) and I agreed to an internal exam to try and figure out what was going on. Sarah said the the baby was completely posterior and I was only 3 cm dilated. The midwives suggested that they step out to the coffee shop on the corner, and that we call them when things picked up again.

The midwives left at 8:15 p.m. As soon as they left, the contractions started up really strong. Tyler and I stood up for a while and then I felt like I needed to lie down and rest. After about 30 minutes I felt like things were really strong, and I started to shake with each contraction. I felt that the midwives had just left, so I couldn’t possibly be ready for them to come back. I debated about calling them back until just before 9:00. After the next contraction, I realised I needed to push, so I told Tyler to call the midwives.

He ran downstairs to get the number, and while he was gone I had two strong contractions and started pushing. He came back up and I told him that the baby was coming. I told him to get ready to support the head and I started breathing though some of the contractions to slow the baby down so I wouldn’t tear.

A couple of pushes later, at 9:17 p.m. on November 28th, 2011, Jennifer was born.

Tyler carefully brought her up to my chest and laid her down. I told him to get some receiving blankets to cover her and keep her warm. I latched her on and she started feeding. I asked him if it was a girl or a boy, and he said it was a girl.

At this point we heard the midwives come in downstairs. They came into the room and checked her out. They helped Tyler cut the cord and encouraged me to push the placenta out. Jennifer latched and fed for almost an hour. Once she was done I went into the shower to get cleaned up. They weighed and measured her (7 lbs, 0 oz, 51 cm) and dressed her.

The following morning Jennifer and I had a nice bath in our large tub and I cleaned her up. I noticed that I thought she had a posterior tongue tie. Her palate was really high as well.

After a couple of days of breastfeeding, my nipples were cracked and scabbed. Jennifer had lost weight and now weighed 6 lbs 8 oz. The midwife and I disagreed on whether or not she was tongue tied. My milk came in on Wednesday night (Nov. 30). At that point, it became obvious that Jennifer wasn’t latching well or able to drain me properly. I had Tyler put together my hand pump in an effort to relieve the engorgement. The next time we saw the midwives, I insisted that they send in a referral to Dr. Promnitz in Guelph (Ontario) to have her tongue examined. Over the weekend I noticed that my breasts were really soft and I was only able to pump a few millilitres of milk. I tried to tube-feed at my breast, on my finger, and finally bottle-feed Jennifer. She didn’t seem able to suck very well, and only took in about 10ml of milk at a time.

On Monday afternoon, Nadine (the other midwife) came by and she was very concerned about the fact that Jennifer had lost over 10% of her body weight and hadn’t gained any in over 5 days. She said that I needed to start feeding her 90 ml of my milk or formula every 3 hours (for 8 feeds in 24 hours) until she gained back her birth weight. She also said that it was going to take too long to get in to Dr. Promnitz, and that I should book in with Dr. Jack Newman’s clinic in Toronto. Tyler went out as soon as he got home from work and found somewhere to rent a breast pump. I started pumping that evening and had to pump every hour to get 90 ml by the time my 3 hours was up and I had to feed her again. I had to force feed her with the bottle because she couldn’t suck very well. I started fenugreek and blessed thistle the following morning. I pumped around the clock for 7 days until our appointment at the Newman Clinic. My friend Mandy supplied us with some donor milk to make up the gaps in my pumping. Jennifer only had 1.5 bottles of Mandy’s milk.

On Monday, December 12, I got up with Jennifer at 5:00 a.m. I pumped and fed her 90 ml with the bottle, and we got ready to go to Toronto. At 6:00, just as I was gathering everything to pack in the car, the power went out. It was pitch-dark and I couldn’t remember where we put the flashlight after the birth. Using my phone as a flashlight, I went upstairs and woke Tyler (so he wouldn’t be late for work) and found the flashlight. I finished packing the car and we drove off.

Jennifer cried for about the first 20 minutes, and then she fell asleep. The traffic wasn’t too bad, and I arrived at 8:00 for our 8:30 appointment. The clinic staff were really nice. I sat with her in the waiting room and filled out the intake form. I was nursing her on-and-off because she was getting fussy. Even though she couldn’t get much milk, she always still liked to pacify at the breast.

Soon, they showed me to a private room, and a student IBCLC spent some time with me going over our history, and she worked with me on Jennifer’s latch. After about an hour, the doctor came in and examined Jennifer’s mouth. He agreed that she was very severely tongue tied. He discussed the risks of getting the tongue-tie clipped, and explained the procedure. I agreed to everything and handed her over.

They held her down, and in a matter of seconds, they used scissors to clip under her tongue. He commented on how far up her tongue jumped when she was clipped. There was only a smear of blood in her saliva.

She screamed really hard and took about 10 minutes to calm down. The student IBCLC stayed with me and helped me tube-feed her at the breast, once she was calm enough to latch.

At 10:30 a.m., very tired, I booked the follow-up appointment, and left to go home.

Once we arrived home, Jennifer and I had a nice warm bath in our big tub. We nursed in the tub, and for the first time, she truly drank from my breast.

From that day forward, she was strictly fed at the breast, and has gained weight like crazy.

Shared by Tania Archbold from Ontario, Canada.

You may also click through to read Tania’s first two birth stories, Jackson’s and Thomas’s.

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