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Katherine Harding - Birth Story

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Katherine Harding-Birth Story

Apr 4, 2022
Katherine Harding, her husband and baby

My name is Katherine Harding, I am a mother of two, and I am currently in the process of becoming a lactation counselor. I know pregnancy and motherhood are not easy. I know giving birth can be even harder. 


Every mother has a story to share. Some are stories of heartbreak and resilience. Others are stories of strength and triumph. None are easy to share. 


Today, I would like to share the beginning of my motherhood story with you.  


My husband, Jake, and I struggled with infertility for years. Finally, we turned to IVF. To our joy, the IFV treatment worked. I was pregnant.  


I had everything planned out in my head. 


I knew I wanted a “natural” labor and delivery and absolutely did NOT want a c-section unless it became an emergency. At the time it seemed so simple. The truth is, nothing is simple when it comes to giving birth. 


At the time, all was going to plan. I knew the hospital I wanted. I knew the OB/midwife I wanted. I even knew I wanted a doula. If I was going to deliver my baby naturally, I needed the BEST support team.  


I met Tamara and the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. She was incredible. Knowledgeable, calm, I knew Tamara was meant to guide me through my delivery. 


Tamara and I met for the first time, and we discussed the basics: how to manage pain naturally, different birthing positions, and more. She even touched on c-sections and births with an epidural. These were things I never expected that I would need to know, but later I came to see just how important they were. 


It was a Thursday night when contractions started. On Friday morning, we went to the hospital, my contractions drawing ever closer together.  


As soon as we got to the hospital, we went to triage where the staff checked my vitals, blood pressure and more. That was when I got my first big shock. Somehow between week 39 and 40 Pre-Eclampsia had snuck up on us.  


The hospital said I could no longer deliver naturally. Since my blood pressure was dangerously high, the staff had no choice but to induce labor.  


By Friday night, my blood pressure was still very high, so they started me on Magnesium Sulfate to control it. Magnesium, however, slows everything down, so I wasn’t making progress in my labor. At that point, the medical staff started Pitocin.  


After hours (and by hours I do mean all day and a nonstop contraction), I finally asked for an epidural. I had not slept; my body was exhausted, and I was in pain.  


Unfortunately, the relief of the first epidural was limited. It took the staff three more tries to get my body to accept the epidural. On the fourth try it finally worked.  


By then, my Pitocin content was so high it had started to hurt my baby and the doctor called for a c-section. The ONE thing I did not want and did not plan for.  


I was so scared, but Tamara was quick to keep me calm. She helped pack up our room and get things situated so my husband could focus on being with me.  


If you had ever asked me before having a c-section if I had considered a doula necessary for a c-section I would have said no. I would have been wrong. Having Tamara was an absolute blessing. The fact my husband could focus on being with me was truly amazing.  


In that moment I was thankful Tamara had gone over c-sections during my childbirth class. Otherwise, I would not have known what to expect as the doctors and nurses had no time to explain anything to us.  


While in the operating room, and later in recovery, we discovered Tamara had waited for us. She even went as far to text my husband to check in on me, which I appreciate more than she will ever know.  


Due to COVID restrictions, she could not be in recovery with me, and I was only allowed to have my husband. Nevertheless, we chatted via text about what I should expect next, what happened during the delivery and more. After being moved from recovery to our post-partum room, she was able to join us again.  


Jake and I had not showered in days, not to mention sleep. Suffice to say we were disoriented and tired beyond belief. Tamara helped us get our room set up and stayed with the baby and I so my husband could shower and handle other matters.  


In that moment came to realize how valuable a doula was despite the circumstances of my delivery. I wasn’t sure what to expect for recovery. I was sore but it was not as bad as I had feared.  


The post-partum team was amazing. Tamara continued to check in with me and answer any questions that came up.  


My husband was only able to be off work for a few days, which worried me, but again Tamara was the hero. She checked in on me and helped ease my worries.  


If you are considering a doula, do it. You will not regret it. If you are having an elective c-section or an emergency c-section, having that extra support is worth its weight in gold.  


To those that are afraid of the c-section like I was, I promise it's not as scary as it seems. I had an exceptionally long and scary birth. Having the team I wanted for birth is the only thing that worked out in my original plan.  


It may not have been what I wanted or planned, but looking back, it only matters that my boy is here safely.  


Prepare for everything. They say birth is unpredictable. I can affirm that is true. But I never would have dreamed that all my plans would fall apart. I am forever grateful to my husband, Tamara, and my OB for keeping the delivery on track and keeping me and my baby safe. 

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