As the first among her family and friends to have a baby, Michelle knew that learning what to expect would make her childbirth experience much better. Here, she shares her story of learning to become a mom at Women & Babies Hospital.
At 28 years old, I was the first member of my immediate family, and even most of my extended family, to have a baby. In fact, I was the first of my close friends to have a baby. I hadn’t been around babies. I didn’t know what to expect. Having the classes at Women & Babies Hospital and the support of everyone at the hospital was just phenomenal, because I knew nothing.
The Hospital with Class
My husband, Mike, and I took the childbirth and baby care basics classes together at Women & Babies. I took the breastfeeding class by myself.
Mike and I both have advanced degrees so education is very important to us, and we’re constantly reading up on things. But childbirth is different. You learn it as you go through it—but having the chance to ask questions first definitely helped me be calmer.
Knowing What to Expect When You’re Expecting
One of the great things about the childbirth class, and the staff as a whole, was that they were so thorough. Every topic was covered. Knowing I had these trusted experts to call on at any time made the whole process more manageable and it really made me feel less nervous and more excited about what was ahead.
Surprises are great—like whether we were having a boy or a girl (it’s a boy!), but knowing what to expect along the way was definitely key in making me feel more relaxed during this incredible time in my life.
Doctors Who Connect with You
Lancaster Physicians for Women is my OB practice and they have three wonderful female physicians. During my pregnancy, I saw each of them for checkups and ongoing evaluations, so I knew I would be comfortable with whichever doctor was on call when I went into labor. They were all caring, reassuring and great listeners.
On the big day, I was in the hands of Dr. Jones. We had always connected well early on so it was comforting to know she was right there with me. She was fabulous.
C-section with Care
Our labor and delivery nurse was also terrific. She was so nice. I was her only patient that night, so she stayed with us the whole time.
I had learned about C-sections and emergency C-sections in the childbirth classes. I wanted to do a regular delivery; however, before Ryan was born, his heart rate dropped significantly. Within 10 minutes, I was having an emergency C-section, but I knew I was in the best of care.
After the delivery, our nurse came in to check on me. She showed up with this little bag—scented lotions for me and two outfits for Ryan. The gift just made me feel so good. It was so personal. I may not see her for a while, but I felt like she was my best friend at the time.
A New Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding
I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I thought you just put the baby on, and he does his thing. That definitely wasn’t the case with Ryan. He didn’t get the hang of it until he was 10 weeks old. Because of the emergency C-section, we were in the hospital for five days.
Every minute of those five days, I got help with everything, and breastfeeding was a big part of that. The lactation nurses were in twice a day to see me until I left. Because of that, I felt comfortable calling them after I got home and saying, ‘I still need help.’ I’m not the type of person who always jumps to take advantage of resources, but I just felt so comfortable with the lactation staff.
I actually stopped trying to nurse Ryan for about a month. One day I put him back on, and he was like a champ. After he started nursing, I went back to the lactation nurses again, because I had a willing partner for the first time. I wanted to make sure I was getting it right. It’s been really rewarding for me, and Ryan really enjoys it. I thank the staff at Women & Babies for being there for both of us.
A Memorable Experience
I always assumed that I would go to Women & Babies. It has the best reputation and it’s really convenient. Then, as I got more involved, I realized why it is the best: the comfort level, the familiarity, the preparation they take, the amazing staff and doctors and the pampering afterwards. It was a total experience I will never forget.