Kendra grew up around physiologic birth and was a VBAC, breech baby herself. She was planning a birth center birth when she went into labor unexpectedly at 35 weeks. Her physiologic birth plans quickly went out the window as she was continuously monitored, poorly treated, stalled around 7 cm, got an epidural and ended up with a C-section when her baby's heart rate dropped. Despite being born with excellent APGAR scores, her baby was whisked away from her and sent to the NICU for five days, where she had limited access and wasn't able to breastfeed on her terms. Later, she was accused of drug use when they found opiates in her urine (forgetting that she had an opioid in her epidural), was threatened with her baby dying when she refused antibiotic eye ointment, and was questioned about taking her baby home with mild jaundice upon discharge. Every step of Kendra's hospital experience was dictated by policy and protocol rather than individualized care, leaving her with post traumatic stress and delayed bonding. She shares her story today to help women understand that obstetric violence is real, but healing is possible and bonding with your baby always happens. ********** Connect with Cynthia and Trisha at: Work with Cynthia: Work with Trisha at: We serve women and couples coast to coast with our live, online monthly HypnoBirthing classes, support groups and prenatal/postpartum workshops. We are so grateful for your reviews and shares! Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!
Kendra grew up around physiologic birth and was a VBAC, breech baby herself. She was planning a birth center birth when she went into labor unexpectedly at 35 weeks. Her physiologic birth plans quickly went out the window as she was continuously monitored, poorly treated, stalled around 7 cm, got an epidural and ended up with a C-section when her baby's heart rate dropped. Despite being born with excellent APGAR scores, her baby was whisked away from her and sent to the NICU for five days, where she had limited access and wasn't able to breastfeed on her terms.
Later, she was accused of drug use when they found opiates in her urine (forgetting that she had an opioid in her epidural), was threatened with her baby dying when she refused antibiotic eye ointment, and was questioned about taking her baby home with mild jaundice upon discharge. Every step of Kendra's hospital experience was dictated by policy and protocol rather than individualized care, leaving her with post traumatic stress and delayed bonding.
She shares her story today to help women understand that obstetric violence is real, but healing is possible and bonding with your baby always happens.
Connect with Cynthia and Trisha at:
Work with Cynthia:
Work with Trisha at:
We serve women and couples coast to coast with our live, online monthly HypnoBirthing classes, support groups and prenatal/postpartum workshops.
We are so grateful for your reviews and shares!
Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!
So C-section went along, and he was big. He was seven pounds at 35 weeks. They showed him to me for about two seconds, and then he was gone. I have never felt more helpless in my life. Like, I just grew that baby was with me for nine months. And then yeah, he was he was gone and my husband was gone. And they were just sewing me up doing their business as usual. And I was just, you know, wondering when I was gonna get to see my baby and hold him.
Kendra, when he was born, was there any true reason that they needed to take your baby away from you, other than the fact that he was 35 weeks?
No, there was not he had at guards of eight and nine. He was completely fine. There was zero reason other than hospital policy.
I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.
Hi, my name is Kendra tool and I am going to be sharing the story of my first birth with my son Sawyer. So I have always loved childbirth. My mom had two homebirth I am a VBAC. homebirth breech baby, actually so, and a few my sisters have had home births. I was present for some of them. And so I've been around it a lot. And I love it. I really do. I think it's miraculous and magical. So I chose and out of hospital birth with midwife's at a birth center. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I did not want to give birth in the hospital for various reasons. So I did my prenatal care with them. They were great. My pregnancy was uncomplicated. There was everything was great. It was normal, low risk. I do have white coat syndrome. So my blood pressure would always be high, but I would just take it at home every week and share it with them. And it was it was all good.
So let me ask you a quick, quick question about white coat syndrome, because a few people have mentioned that is that? Is that a legitimate thing? Or is that just a sense that we have when I see a doctor? I get nervous, anxious, untrusting or is there more to it?
Um, it is a real thing. My dad actually has it too. And it presents in the same way as his blood pressure skyrockets when he's like in a doctor's office.
I think it's I think it's like an official diagnosis. So yeah, I'm pretty sure it is. I haven't officially been diagnosed. But you know when? Yeah, of course. Yeah.
So pregnancy was great. Everything was normal. We went on a baby moon when I was 34 weeks pregnant. We went to Florida. We went to the beach. We did do a day at Epcot. It was super great.
Did you go on roller coasters?
I didn't go on rollercoasters.
It was was a question that was submitted in our q&a if you're pregnant and go to really and you go on the rides.
I think that was the December q&a. And they were like wait, and the thing we were laughing about was it said like the the professional advice was like, wait until after the baby is born to go on the roller coasters were like Yeah, right. Okay. Yeah, great, because that's what I'll be doing.
Yes, for sure. So we went on our babymoon. And then 12 hours after we got home. I woke up, it was like one in the morning. And I woke up and I was like feeling crampy and my back was hurting. And I thought maybe I'm getting a UTI. So I got up and I took a cranberry pill and I went to the bathroom and I went back to bed. And at 215 I woke up again, and I had another cramp. And some fluid leaked out during the cramp. And I was like, I don't think that's normal. So I actually messaged my sister. She's a postpartum nurse. She's an ibclc. And I knew she would be awake. So I messaged her and I was like, Is it normal to leak fluid during a cramp? And she was like, No, it's probably your water, like, whatever.
How far along were you? Oh, sorry.
I was 35 and two, my cute husband like sat up in bed and asked me if I was having heartburn. And I was like, No, I don't think it's heartburn. I think I'm having contractions. Called my midwife. She basically said, you know, keep an eye on it, keep typing it, see what happens like Keep me posted. So I was just kind of, you know, typing things hanging out. I was on the birth ball. And then my eye stood up and it just like gushed and I was like, Okay, so we're gonna have a baby. And we're not going to the birth center. Because you know, 35 weeks in two days.
I'm in Utah. And they checked me and I was four centimeters dilated. My sister had called the hospital and told them like she's coming in, and she wants to go unmedicated. So like, just keep that in mind. And the nurse. In the moment, I thought she was being great, because she was like, That's great. I'll just leave you alone, like, do your thing, which seems great. But looking back, I definitely could have used some actual like support. And this was during COVID. So nobody else was allowed to come, it was just me and my husband. I asked her for a birth ball and I sat on the birth ball, they just came in and put me back on the monitors every, every 40 minutes or something. At one point, I did get in the shower on the birth ball, they tried to do the wireless monitor. But of course, that didn't work. So then they put me back in the bed.
Let's just slow down here. Let's slow down here. This is really important, you understand? You went in the shower, and went in the shower monitor didn't work in the shower. So rather than forgoing the monitor, they forego the shower, because there's catering to the monitor. Right? That's all I had to say.
They're catering to themselves, essentially, because that monitor makes their job easier, right. So I got out of the shower, I was having really bad back labor. So in the shower, my husband was just like holding the hot water on my back. And I was sitting on the birth ball. around seven o'clock, the doctor that was there came in. And he was very rude. He came in and he sat down, you know, arms crossed, and was just like, I hear you want to go unmedicated. And I was like, yeah, that's my plan. And he was like, well, first babies are really hard. And I don't think you're going to be able to do it. And your chances of stalling out and needing a C section are really high. So you should just get the epidural now.
Did you ask him what his first birth was like?
I didn't, I should have. So he came in, and he said those things. And I in my head, I'm like rolling my eyes and like, whatever I'm going to show you. And they checked me right after that. And I was at seven centimeters. And everyone was super excited. Everything was looking good. And then Lucky for me, the doctors did switch like right then. So I did not have to see that doctor again. Which was very good for me. They checked me again, at nine, I was still seven, they checked me again at 11. I was still seven. And during that check, I had a contraction, and it was horrible. And I just yelled out, like, I'm gonna need the drugs like I cannot keep doing this. If nothing's even happening between between 7pm and 11pm. You were laboring in bed the whole time?
Pretty much. Yeah. Were you?
Were you on your side? Were you on your back, I was on my back. Nobody was trying to change positions. And nobody was giving me any advice. My brain was not functioning like I know about birth, and I knew what I should be doing. But you're not thinking clearly in that moment. And that doctor just made me feel like just so defeated and like the things that I wanted, didn't matter and weren't important. And they had also sidenote, they had told me that since I was only 35 weeks, the baby would go to the NICU, they did not elaborate on that they didn't give me any sort of expectation. So in our heads, we just had an expectation of he'll get monitored. And if he's okay, then he'll be great. And we'll get out and it'll be fine. So that part really wasn't in my head at this point. But so I was still seven I asked for the epidural. I got the epidural around noon. I just thought if I got some rest things would pick up. But they didn't. They switched my nurse because something happened. So they gave me a new nurse and she was actually a lot better. She brought in a peanut ball. She tried to like have me on my sides. But at this point I was also on Pitocin and the baby's heart rate was not responding well to the Pitocin so when they were trying to switch sides it was messing with his heart rate and so I really was just in like I think they call it the throne position like for several hours because that's all he would tolerate.
What What position did you say to throne the throne is what my nurse called it it was basically just like super high sitting like sitting up super high. On the bed. Yeah, like a throne for the babies. her baby's heart rate. The only position your baby could tolerate the tolerating Well, yeah, that Pitocin what's the problem? Right?
It's also worth letting everyone hear how much your quality of care changed as people change shifts. It shouldn't be like this. We shouldn't have a phase of an unsupportive doctor. Oh, thank God that one is gone. Now I have a supportive one. This nurse kept me in a bed all day. Oh, look at this one walking in with a peanut ball. I mean, what is it just shouldn't be like that where there's such a variance in the quality of care. And the tools that they can provide. Those tools shouldn't be changing based on the person who's walking in the room. Like if hospitals have policies for everything else. Why don't they have policies for the way that they support women? Right especially
It's stunning how much the variance in care actually influences the outcome of your birth.
Because if I had had that second nurse from the beginning, coming in with a peanut ball, it could have completely changed the whole trajectory. So if you had a doctor who supported you right off the bat, yeah, if I had a doctor
that didn't make me scared and feel unsafe, that would have you had stayed in the shower standing, which was your inclination, yeah, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So at 530, they came in, and they called a C section. So we went to the operating room, my husband was able to come, which was great. They did not strap me down, which I appreciated. They gave me some kind of medicine right before we went in. And it definitely made me throw up. So I threw up on the operating table, which was horrible. But the anesthesiologist was super great. He like got right over my face. And he was like, this happens all the time. Like, don't worry about it. We got this. We're good.
I was I was, I wish they would appreciate that. It doesn't happen all the time to you. Yeah. It's easy for them to say it happened. That's true. It's just another day at work to them. But that for you that that's something you'll remember your entire life. Yeah. Yeah. And if they would only understand that if they could just say, Look, we do see this all the time. We know this is difficult for you, or it's scary to you, or it's hard for you. We see this and we know this to be safe. That would be reassuring, but to wear away and poopoo it because it happens all the time. No, it doesn't happen all the time to the person you're speaking to.
Yeah, so true. So true. Yeah, so they got me all prepped. I will note that the doctor that was assisting, his phone started ringing, like right before they were gonna cut me open. And he had the nurse answer it for him. So they're like, cutting me open. And he's like trying to talk to this nurse who's talking on his phone, about a meeting that he's supposed to be at. And that just really irritated me, because you're not going to leave in the middle of my surgery anyway. So like, let the person leave a message, and you can get back to them later. It just made me feel like, like, shouldn't this be your focus? You're cutting me open? I don't understand.
So I think it goes back to what Cynthia was just saying about this is just another day at the job for them. So they're talking about their upcoming weekend plans or their golf game or taking phone calls or even responding to emails. And they're not talking to me for you. This is Yeah, major life defining moment. Your baby's about to be born, you're you're undergoing major surgery, you're terrified. This is not what she wanted.
And this is why the most important quality in anyone you work with professionally or personally in your entire life. The most important quality is emotional intelligence, because anyone with an ounce of emotional intelligence would know, I'm not going to take that call right now. Because even though I think I can handle this surgery right now, she doesn't know that I can. Right. I know a woman from years ago who had a C section for her first and having a VBAC meant everything to her, I can't even begin to tell you like she was going to monthly meetings, it meant everything to her. And she had a second labor that was very difficult. And after 24 hours of truly crying, trying going through everything she had to relinquish to a C section. And while that doctor who knew her well, was giving her a C section, he and the nurse were talking about what they felt like ordering for lunch. It's very common.
Yeah. And seriously, neither one of those doctors, like spoke a single word to me the whole time.
I was just there that you will gather that he was talking to her about our check who's calling me right now. You'll remember that detail? What was nothing forever? And he doesn't remember you will remember that?
Yep. Yeah. So C section went along. baby was born at 6:41pm. And he was big. He was seven pounds at 35 weeks. So he was good size. They showed him to me for about two seconds. And then he was gone. And I had told my husband to follow the baby. So then I was just there on the operating table by myself. I have never felt more helpless in my life. Like, I just grew that baby. He was with me for nine months, and then go
so Sorry it's been a while since I've told the story. But yeah, he was he was gone and my husband was gone. And they were just sewing me up doing their business as usual. And I was just, you know, wondering when I was gonna get to see my baby and hold him.
Kendra, when he was born, was there any true reason that they needed to take your baby away from you other than the fact that he was 35? Weeks?
No, there was not. He had app guards of eight and nine. He was completely fine. There was zero reason other than hospital policy. And that is the overarching theme of my story is that it's not individualized care. It's hospital policy. And they don't, they don't care what's happening with you or your baby, they care that they're checking their boxes, and that they're following the rules. So yeah, baby was born. My husband went to see him, he came back and told me like, he's doing great. Like, they've got him. I'm gonna stay here with you for a few minutes. So then we went to recovery. And they fed me a disgusting turkey sandwich. But I was so hungry that I was like, Whatever, I'll just eat this. And while we were in the recovery room, the nurse practitioner from the NICU came over. And she she did say, like your baby stable and doing well. But then her follow up was I heard you don't want the erythromycin. I meant, is that true? Is that correct? And we said, Yep, that's correct. We don't want it. And she, of course, proceeded to tell me that my baby could go blind or die. And we said, Okay, thanks. We still don't want it. And then she reiterated again, that he could go blind or die. We again said, We don't want it, but thank you. And she finally gave up and she, she left.
But she said he could go blind or die without the rice. And are you kidding me? Yeah, I'm not joking. So, so he's not gonna go blind or die. But, but thanks so much, you're not traumatized enough by having a baby out of your arms. I'm worried about him.
So um, so he was born Tuesday night, 641. After like, five hours, I was able to get up, go to the bathroom. And so they wheeled me to the NICU. So I finally got to hold him. We did skin his skin immediately. But I didn't feel super connected. You know, I didn't have that moment of, Oh, my baby, you know. And I'm sure that's just because I was traumatized. And we were in an unfamiliar, scary environment. And I didn't even know what was going on with him, right? Like, he's in the NICU. So something must be wrong. But um, well, as a result of hormones from a physiologic birth experience, there's nothing wrong with a woman who isn't bonding it yet someone intervened in her physiologic experience. And sometimes that intervention is necessary and beneficial. Sometimes it isn't. But regardless, it's helpful for everyone to know that this mother and this baby, this couplet needs more time, more space, more affection, more human contact, so that they can get those hormones flowing, and they can enjoy Bonding. Bonding always happens either way later, yes, I'm sure you're going to tell us for sure. So I went to the NICU I met him, we were able to stay for a few hours, and do a feeding with him. They were encouraging me to breastfeed, but also they were doing bottles because he had to meet ridiculous feeding standards.
And you probably were not allowed to breastfeed him on demand and Heavens, no, no, no, no. Once every three hours. That's right, you can feed him every three hours, and it must be limited to 20 minutes. So for the first day, I did try latching before each bottle, but he would get really tired, and then he wouldn't really want his bottle. And so I did stop even breastfeeding. And I was just pumping because I was like, if we're going to meet these feeding guidelines, he can't be tired. He has to just drink the bottle so they can check their box and we can move along. So I stopped breastfeeding and just pumping. And come Thursday. We still really hadn't had any NICU doctors tell us like, here's what's happening with your baby. Here's what we're doing to help him. Here's what needs to happen so he can go home. There had been no, we hadn't even talked to anybody else besides the nurses really by this point. So on Thursday, the doctor that was doing rounds on me. I hadn't met him yet. But he came in and he was awesome. He sat down and had a full on conversation with us. And he asked us how the baby was doing and we said, we don't really know like, they haven't really given us a lot of information. And he said, Well, that's ridiculous. You need to know what's happening with your baby. And he bless his heart he like marched right down to the NICU and told them you need to get in there and talk to them about their baby because this is not okay. So sure enough, like an hour later, the unit neonatologist came into our room, and he told us, you know, with premature babies, it's like three major things breathing temperature regulation and feeding. And he said your baby's doing great with it. temperature and he's doing great with breathing and temperature regulation. We're just working on his feeding. And in my mind, I was thinking, I don't understand he is eating great peace really had no problems. I guess he was having a little bit of trouble regulating his blood sugar, but probably because he was away from me. If he had been able to be with me, I'm sure it would have evened out even quicker than it did. But they never had to treat it with anything other than just feeding every three hours. So working on his feeding meant we're just feeding him this bot or just read the hours and he's fine. He was fine. He was breathing. Normally he was breathing. Normally, he never had oxygen. He never had any interventions. They were saying this is like it's Unbeliev. I'm here. I know this. I know. It's crazy. So so he says neonatologist.
It's not that he stopped painting. It's not that they there wasn't really pooping, pooping. voiding normally, everything was normal. How many days in the NICU? So this was Thursday. So this was day two. And, you know, in that moment, I was just like, okay, like, I guess he's has something to work on with feeding, I didn't really know. So the doctor had said, like, if he doesn't take his full feedings, we'll have to do a garage, a tube feeding. And me and my husband were both like, we really don't want to do that. And if you are going to do that, will you please just at least notify us before you do it. And they thought that was the most ridiculous thing that we would ask them to notify us before doing that. They have nurse gave me so much sass, and I was so bugged. Anyway, so he had to eat 60 mils a day to have life 60 mils every three hours. 60 mils, that's two ounces of ridiculous rounds is a formula. I mean, a baby who is nursing on colostrum is not taking two ounces.
Much like colostrum so much Trisha saying tablespoons. I mean, it's Yeah, cuz I mean that we don't we don't know exactly. But it's yes, it's teaspoons tablespoons sometimes. Maybe an ounce? Yeah. Two ounces every three hours is six hours a day.
Yep. And if he didn't finish the bottle, they would to feed him the rest of it. Oh, my God, that's heaven forbid the baby. Just tell them. I don't want any more. I'm done. No, yeah, listen to that. So that was Thursday, Friday came along. And I I had to be discharged by Saturday, because insurance would only let me stay for that long. I mean, hindsight, grateful I had a C section so I could stay longer since baby was still in the NICU. So Friday, it was basically same story, like he has to eat all of his feedings for 24 full hours before we can think about discharging him. But he had already done that on Thursday. So I had called my sister on Friday, and I was just like, I don't even know what to do. Like, they're not letting him out. He's fine. They're not doing anything for him. If you're not ready to like, let us leave at least let him be in our room with us. The postpartum nurse can chart his feedings. It's not that difficult. Friday, I had called my sister and she my other sister, her mother in law works at a NICU at a different hospital. So she just kind of asked, Is there anything we can do? And she suggested requesting a family care conference. And so my sister called the NICU actually and was like, hey, we want a family care conference with the doctors and the NICU team to discuss what's going on with their baby. So that happened. Sidenote, a social worker walked into my room on Saturday morning, and said your urine sample from admitting tested positive for opiates. So DCFS is gonna come talk to you. Oh, my gosh. And we were like, What? Are you kidding me? I had not had poppy seeds. And I had never to this point taken a prescription drug of any kind in my entire life until they gave me some at the hospital. That happens. And at that point, we had requested the family care conference, but we hadn't heard anything back yet. And I was just like, done.
But what what about this test? What about this positive test? Did they mix it up with someone else?
So I'm like, a mess with this social worker. I am just in tears. Like, I'm not on drugs. I've never taken drugs. I had my first antibiotic in the hospital two days ago. Like you screwed up. Somebody screwed up. I don't know who screwed up but someone screwed up. So my nurse came in while I was having a meltdown. And she was like what happened? So we told her and she said, Okay, I'm gonna go do some investigating. I'm in call the nurse that was here when you got admitted and we're going to figure this out. So she did her thing and she came back. And what happened was the nurse when I got admitted, I didn't get a urine sample because I was just in labor. And they took me straight to a room. So I had told them, I didn't even give a urine sample. So like, I don't know what happened. But something happened. The nurse came back and she said, she had talked to all the nurses that had taken care of me. And what happened was, they printed my label for my urine sample when I was admitted. So it had my admitting time on it. But they did not take a urine sample, until they took it from my catheter after I had a C section. So yes, I had had lots of drugs by that point, including opiates. Yes. Including opiate...
Oh my god.
So it got labeled with my admitting time, but it had actually been taking taken like a few hours after my C section. So they're like, Okay, so basically, they said, you might not get your baby because there's opiate in your system. And because we they are, because they're the ones who gave you the opiates. And they're not aware. They're the ones who gave it to you. Right. I'm just speechless. They made a logistical error. Because yeah, there was I'm speechless problem.
I was speechless, too. I was wild. So they found out there was an error with my urine sample. So that got worked out. But they did say they were still going to send the baby's cord for testing just to double check. And I was I said, Okay, fine, whatever.
Oh, my gosh, wait a minute.
Wait. They were still accused. They were still accusing you of potentially doing drugs, even though they absolutely would that is insane.
Because they said, now we realize we gave you the opiates, but we don't really know for sure that you're not also doing them on your own. And they're right that you should really get your baby from us.
And by the way, it's just a it's another procedure they can charge for.
Yes, I am speechless over the store. This is a for profit hospital, I'm just gonna throw that out there. It's not literally many days in the NICU for a perfectly healthy baby there. There's some financial incentives, a lot of ignorance and a lot of coercion, and, yes, all of the above of things, all the things you don't want. So they were still gonna send the baby's cord to get tested. And I just said, Okay, that's fine. And so this all happened Saturday morning. And then Saturday afternoon, the NICU nurse practitioner had been called to a different hospital. So she hadn't done rounds yet. So we still didn't know what was happening. And I had to be discharged. So we were kind of in limbo, but we basically told them like, we're going home today. Like we're we're not leaving without a baby and I have to leave today. So when the nurse practitioner did get back, the first thing she did was chastise us for having my sister call and request that family care conference told us that wasn't happening. But she said, If you promise to take him to the pediatrician on Monday to get his jaundice tested, we'll let you go home today. Oh, no mind, you know, jaundice had never been mentioned as any sort of issue the whole time he was there. It did not get brought up until that moment. i He was never under lights leave the story. Yeah. It's like their ego. So it's like, Fine, you can have your baby. But now here's our condition because they had to say face and neck like they still had the upper hand on whether you get your baby. You have to promise them nothing. Yeah, I know. Yeah. So we said, Okay. Well, take him to the pediatrician and get it checked on Monday, please just let us go home. So they discharged us we loaded up our baby. I will say also the NICU nurse that walked us to our car. She made the most annoying comment. She said, You guys are so brave to take your baby home so early.
I, I just I never wanted to I never wanted to be here for even an hour.
Literally. I wish I hadn't spent any time here. She was really implying it was risky. Yeah, which was 100%. And it just blows me away because when we started in the NICU, the neonatologist had said when he came into our room to talk to us, he said like most babies are in the NICU until they hit 36 hours 36 week mark, which would have been literally 12 hours after we left the hospital anyway, so please explain to me how it's so risky to take my baby home 12 hours earlier than he probably would have been discharged anyway. So it's not um, yeah, so that was the birth. I did have my bonding moment. The day after we got home. I was doing skin to skin on our couch and I was like, the floodgates opened and the hormones got going and it was amazing. But yeah, breastfeeding, we had to We established breastfeeding because I had stopped because it was not conducive to getting out of the NICU. And that was super hard. I'm super lucky that my sister's an ibclc. So she, she helped us get off the bottle and onto the breast. So lucky, so lucky. Oh, lucky. Even after that, though, it just, it wasn't going well. He just didn't latch good. There was lots of clicking sounds. He was fussy when he would nurse and it was really, really difficult. So I actually when he was like three and a half months old, I, mother's intuition, decided to take him to a pediatric dentist to be evaluated for oral ties. And he had like a fourth degree lip tie, and a cheek buckle. So we did get those fixed with the laser. And it still took about probably another two months. But after that, it just took off. We're still nursing to this day, and he's 15 months old.
So tell us the emotional journey that you had to pay. So I mean, you had processing to do once he was in your arms and you were home. What was that like? And how long did it take and where are you with it now?
It was super hard. The night feedings were the hardest, because I would be awake at night with my thoughts, and I would just relive all of the trauma. It was really, really difficult. I did go see a therapist. I only ended up doing one session. But I did see a therapist which she gave me some really awesome ideas. She specializes in postpartum, honestly just talking about it was the thing that helped me the most. My poor family had to listen to me rehash it all. I can't count how many times. But they were just there for me and they listened and they validated my feelings. And they never made me feel like I was overreacting or like being unreasonable. They just they just listened. And they gave me love and they gave me support. And that's, that's what's helped me to heal. I would say it probably took about, I don't know, six months before, I really could be up at night and not relive all of the trauma. And I do still sometimes I'll wake up and be like, Oh my gosh, like, I just had this horrible dream that we were back in the NICU. And yeah, so it's still it's still hard. But I have skills and things that I do to cope with it.
Can you name the most uncomfortable emotions that you've had to repeatedly face?
My biggest one is anger, anger at myself, anger at the doctors. Sometimes the anger was even at my baby. And I hate I hate admitting that. But the whole point of me coming on and sharing is to help people understand that. It's okay to feel that way. It doesn't mean you're a bad mom. It doesn't mean you don't love your baby. It means you went through something extremely hard. And your feelings are valid. And you just have to find people and support and ways to cope with those emotions and it will get it will get better.
There are emotions that lie just beneath anger. Yes, such as grief. Yep.
You're at this grieving. Yeah, grieving the birth. You didn't have to? Yes, I will say I there's a team of doulas their sisters, they did the birth education course that I took. And I did talk to them afterwards. And one of them said, she said, I'm gonna give you permission right now to grieve the birth experience that you didn't get to have. It's okay to feel grief. And it's okay to be sad that that didn't happen. And that is honestly, that was an aha moment for me of Oh, yeah, that's a big deal. That's something I planned for and that I hoped for. And I wanted so bad and it didn't happen. So, yeah, permission to grieve when I gave myself that it helped a lot with processing all of the emotions.
You know, and the comment you made earlier about your family never making you feel you were overreacting. It's impossible for a woman to overreact about how her birth when it's impossible. You can't overreact but can't overreact when your baby is taking baby jailers, no amount of overreacting with any birth. I mean, it's such a deeply intimate physical, emotional and mental experience. No one goes through this experience with you. It doesn't matter who's in the room holding your hand. No one knows your experience. Even a hurtful comment when everything else is so perfect, is reason to be incredibly angry and have all the emotions and you went through like a salt after a salt in your in your story.
Your story Kendra is why we have a podcast like this. This is why there's such a term as obstetric violence there. This is your story is why there's such a term birth trauma like, this is why we talk about what we talk about because of this happening. Even to one woman, it's too many too many. It should not happen like this. And when it when it when it sometimes may seem that we're down on medicine or down on hospitals or down on OBS, it's because this happens to women. Yeah, it happens a lot. It happens much more than people realize,
the more I've exposed myself to the birth world, and all the podcasts I listen to it is happening to a lot of people and it's not okay. It should never happen. It should never happen. And I think a lot of people just think it's, you know, it is what it is. That's what had to happen. And it makes me so sad that they think that's just how it is.
Well, we can we can also appreciate how unfair it is when someone says to you, but you have this healthy beautiful baby now. Yes, I didn't mention that. So many people would say well at least you have a healthy baby. And that is honestly the worst thing you could say is a completely invalidates my feelings and my experience and it makes me feel more guilty for the feelings I'm having. So for anyone listening that has been through birth trauma, and might be feeling feelings of anger or guilt or shame or grief. I want you to know that that's okay. You can find help and you can find healing. They are emotions that deserve validation and attention and once once they receive that you can heal and you can move forward in a positive way.
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We did not pay those NICU bills. Goodness, wow, they cut my bill in half. And they wrote off all of his bills
that really how can you achieve that?
Well, there was a lot of conversations we we called I don't even remember, Oh, I left a Google review. I left a Google review for the hospital and gave like a brief description of what happened and was like I would never recommend anyone go here to have a baby. And they contacted me and they said like we would love to talk to you about this. And they
said they said why don't we have to pay you to remove that review.
Like not tell anyone this story? Yep, I'm sharing my story.
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