March 01, 2021 4 min read
I had the opportunity to chat with another small business owner, Kathleen Healy about her birth story. I was actually totally shocked at the similarities between her story and mine!
Being one of the first of her friends to have kids, she didn’t really know what to expect. So, at first, she had an OBGYN (that’s a normal thing to do, right?) She said the doctor was direct, and straightforward, but often short. Her appointments were rushed. It was her first pregnancy and nothing about it felt special. Basically, just another appointment on the books for that day. She was really getting the vibe that this wasn’t going to be a great experience. Then, she found a solution in the strangest of places — a rehearsal dinner where next to her sat... a doula.
This was 4 years ago, and Kathleen had just started dipping her toes into holistic health, before beginning her holistic health coaching business. As isn’t uncommon for first time moms, she was unaware of how she could implement those practices into her pregnancy, but she gave it a shot. First things first, she switched to a midwife, and began preparing for an unmedicated birth. She envisioned how her birth would go and practiced the techniques she planned to use during labor.
In February, at 38 weeks, anddddd in the middle of a SNOWSTORM, her parents were at her house because their power was out. Being from a big, close family - it was totally normal for Kathleen to tell her sister over the phone how she thought she had peed her pants the night before. Her sister told her to go get checked out, as it could have been her water breaking. Assuming it was nothing, since she had no pain or any indication of labor, she calls her midwife who agrees - head to the hospital to get everything checked out.
About that time things changed. She said the pain was really, really rough. Realizing she was in labor, she assumed she could labor at home for a while. However, as the pain was quickly becoming excruciating, her parents took her to the hospital, and she called her husband to join them. Already at 5cm, Kathleen was admitted right away.
Just then, things really, really start to change, and Kathleen and her family get some news that would change everything. The doctor tells Kathleen and her parents that her son is breech, and she would need a c-section. They we’re not open to any other options due to his position. WHAT?! Now, at this point everything is chaotic, did I mention this is in a snow storm? Did I mention Kathleen’s husband didn’t even bring her into the hospital, but her parents instead? Luckily he makes it as they are prepping her for a c-section, something she had done zero research into. Kathleen’s dad is hysterical, telling the doctors and nurses she didn’t want a c-section, this isn’t what she wanted, this isn’t what she had planned for.
Kathleen says she doesn’t remember much after that. What she does remember is getting out of surgery and her whole family, all her siblings, being there to meet her son Killian. And, thinking back to that day and how nothing went as planned, in Kathleen’s words (which is why she is one of my favorite people) “he was healthy, so who cares!”.
At least, that was what they thought. When Killian was about 24 hours old, things once again we’re about to change. The doctor came in to tell them that he would need to be taken to another nearby hospital for a procedure (yes, if you were wondering, it was still a snowstorm). So, for Kathleen and family this is scary, and in addition to needing this procedure, there are a ton of other issues at hand. First, because of her emergency c-section, Kathleen is unable to accompany her son to another hospital. Second, they had to safely get Killian by ambulance to the nearby hospital in the snow. Third, Kathleen had every intention of breastfeeding, something that was going to be difficult with her son miles and miles away. And last, Kathleen is going to have to stay in the hospital for recovery, alone, without her newborn, and without her husband.
Honestly, the rest of the story actually makes me a little teary, hearing how Kathleen’s family came together to make sure she was able to breastfeed her son. She began pumping, and her family was taking tiny amounts of colostrum from her, and driving it over to her son. Knowing the hospital expected more milk than Kathleen was currently able to provide, her husband found a location to buy donated breastmilk and they were able to take that over. Kathleen’s family knew her experience was already not what she had wanted for the birth of her son, and they were going to make sure that they did everything they could to help her make the best of an unavoidable situation. Thankfully, the procedure went well, and he was cleared to go home. Unfortunately, Kathleen still wasn’t able to go home post-op.
Now, being transferred to a second hospital meant Kathleen’s son wasn’t technically a patient at the same hospital she was recovering in. This meant he couldn’t just come and stay with her in her room. But again, Kathleen’s family was determined. Finally, they were able to get Killian into the hospital, basically as a visitor, and up to stay with Kathleen as she finished recovering. Eventually, they were able to go home together.
Ah, a perfect ending to a totally crazy and unexpected birth story. Now, Killian is a happy, healthy, and perfect 3 year old, and Kathleen and her husband are expecting baby #2. Even though she did not have the unmedicated birth she had hoped for, she is still a huge advocate of holistic health, and now helps others achieve their health goals. Check her out at facebook.com/kathleenhealyHHC for any of your needs!