Ever since I was 19 years old, the world of Mama’s and Babies have held a special place in my heart. But it is nights like this that I know without a doubt, I am exactly where I need to be.
Mama is snuggled in the bed with her baby at the breast, they just had a fabulous active nursing session, milk is here and baby has moved all the meconium out and is pooping and peeing like a champ. I arrived to their house yesterday afternoon to tuck them in and help create a home plan for the night and the week. Lots to think about: bilirubin levels, milk intake, the tongue-tie, and mom’s incision… it was so overwhelming for them.
The lactation specialist didn’t give home instructions, or if she did, they were lost in transition and translation. So glad I know her and we’re great friends because a quick text and phone call had all my questions answered and me “in the know” for what her plan was and what my role was in supporting the plan. It allowed me to follow my “doula” and “lactation educator” instincts and assess whether that plan was still relevant and track through the night whether or not we needed to change it. The concern was that the trauma and birth process might cause milk delay, but here we are on day 5 and we have milk!
I love when the body responds to the stimuli, great cranial sacral work, and an amazing lactation plan! I assessed what the mom needed and what she was saying without saying. I saw that Papa was dead on his feet, that mama was running on adrenaline and very little sleep and I took action. I said “hey guys, here is what we’re doing…I’m putting you all to bed. Dad you go upstairs and sleep, mom let’s try laying down to finish this feed and we’re going to do a 3-hour stretch.” Baby nursed and nursed and was out. Mama snuggled in with her love and I tiptoed out.
I loaded the dishwasher, did some laundry and wrote out a schedule for medication and for feeding, pumping and SNS feeding. Baby woke at exactly 3 hours on his own, nice big poop and ready to eat. I love watching the newborn reflexes and instinctual “knowing” babies have. I love that they are ready to eat and able to find the breast and latch. I love watching baby push with its little feet to get to the milky spot! It’s these little thing that I know I am in my element. Truly in my element.
Mama gets 2.5 hours of sleep and wakes up at 3 am and says, “I am a new woman”! I laugh, and make her a snack and feed her bites as she feeds her baby. We chat about her birth, and the ideas she has to process her birth, we talk about fears and concerns. I look her in the eyes and say, “You’ve got this, truly got this. Look at it through my eyes. I see milk coming out of your breast, I hear swallows with sucking, I see a baby who loves being on his mama and next to his daddy, and who is content. I see you here, and more collected in your home, every time you see your baby, joy fills your eyes. You are here at home now, so enjoy each moment and let’s roll with it. Remember, there is no wrong way to love a baby, and I know how much love you have to give this baby.” She smiles and says, “Yeah, you’re right.” I snuggle them back in the bed and put baby at the breast lying down and to sleep they both go.
We get through the night and it is so positive, mama has had some solid stretches of sleep, they have breast slept together all night, I have changed diapers and swaddled and burped and cozied them together. She wakes with a smile and says “I feel so great” and I am sincerely overjoyed at hearing this!
I make her breakfast and we talk about the day ahead, and what the plan is and tell them I will see them later that evening. The lactation counselor calls me in the morning to check in, I give her my detailed report and she is thrilled. We make a new plan to follow for the day and I send it to mom and dad.
I go home, make myself some eggs and tell myself, Sarah, this is it, this is your deal, your niche, your calling. This is what makes my heart happy and what I look forward to doing again and again. Helping and supporting the process, being an instrument of consistency, being the baby 101 book, being the reassurance and the grounding point, asking the questions that no one wants to ask, and reminding couples of their power and strength.
Truly, I am doing what I know is my calling. This makes my heart beat fast, and makes me look forward to the next time we do it again. In this world, I am allowed to be 100% me. I can let my natural instincts out and support this family by being the nurturer, the care taker, the strong shoulders to lean on, the empath, the giver, the warmth, the educator, the teacher, the example. I am happy and joyful to be here, just being me.