Yesterday morning my new grandson, Jakub Carl Mohrbacher, entered the world at 7.5 lbs. After 24 hours of labor with her first baby, my daughter-in-law Ania realized her dream of a natural, unmedicated water birth. One my gifts to her was the services of a labor doula, Ayla, who was iMy son Peter on Father's Daynvaluable to Ania in managing her contractions.
I feel grateful today to Ayla, Ania's nurse-midwife Margaret, and my entire birth and breastfeeding network. I live in the Chicago area and my son Peter and Ania live in Atlanta. Ania’s mother will be the first to arrive at in Atlanta on Thursday to provide round-the-clock help to the new family. When she leaves, I’ll fly there to spend two weeks as their helper at the end of July.
In other words my connection to them in the last two days was strictly by phone, e-mail, Skype, and text. But I played an active role. When Peter told me Ania was initially having trouble getting little Jakub latched on well, I made a phone call to the lactation department of her hospital and asked them to please look in on her, leaving her room number on the message. With their permission, Ruby, the hospital LC, was kind enough to call me and report back after she saw them. Fortunately, Ania needed just a little tweaking to get Jakub nursing well. When a resident walked into their room and mentioned the possibility of separating mother and baby, I began calling all the lactation consultants and mother-to-mother breastfeeding support people I knew in Atlanta to get a recommendation for a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician they could request in the hospital. That situation turned around quickly and now no separation is planned.
I offered to schedule a home visit on Tuesday after hospital discharge with Claire, a private practice lactation consultant. Peter gladly accepted this offer as a way to set their minds at ease.
Today I extend my gratitude to Ayla, Margaret, Ruby, and Claire, to all I spoke to who gave me help and encouragement, as well as everyone else who touched the lives of my family. I also give thanks for everyone everywhere who helps birthing and breastfeeding mothers.
As I did my best to help Peter and Ania navigate these hurdles and to smooth their way, I couldn’t help but also think of the many new mothers who are not connected to this amazing network and who struggle alone and unaided. My fondest hope is that someday every new mother will get the help and support she needs.