Little Sunday story time by Rachel
Colostrum; I first heard this word from my lovely midwife Dawn. She encouraged me to hand express to try and get colostrum flowing before my due date. She explained the benefits of having a stash and that you just never know when you might need it. I didn't think too much of it but decided to give it a go at around 36 weeks and freeze the tiny teeny amounts of 'liquid gold' for a rainy day. That was it really, I was feeling super positive about my upcoming due date and getting myself ready for the birth.
I'd been inspired by my friend Ruth (@bright_mama) to think about hypnobirthing and I'm so, so glad I did!! Thank you, Ruth! My husband Tom and I did ‘The Positive Birth Company’ online course and felt psychologically and emotionally ready to welcome our baby boy. We went into labour without fear and as a team. I was ready for my surges and my deep breathes and Tom was ready to encourage me and remind me of the breathing and that every push was one bit closer to meeting our baby.
Our labour went on, and on…after 42 hours the midwives and surgeon agreed that we needed an emergency c-section as our baby was stuck. Shortly before this decision was made, I must have known this was a possibility and called my mum to bring the frozen colostrum I had in the freezer, just in case.
We had the c-section and gave birth to our beautiful Felix- 8lbs 12lbs. To be perfectly honest I don't remember the parts I'd like to remember or have that special first moment everybody seems to talk about, I certainly didn't have the best tea & toast of my life (I'd been looking forward to it after not eating for two whole days!!). I was feeling very unwell and panicked by this point and Tom took the lead with Felix. In the recovery area it was noticed that I wasn't looking well, and I was rushed back into surgery as I was haemorrhaging from a tear. Again, I don't remember too much and I was under anaesthetic by this point. I then went into intensive care and Felix was taken to the special baby unit as they were worried about a few things.
Fast forward to a few weeks later where I was crying (again!) and telling Tom how sad I felt that Felix didn't get my milk straight away. After our birth, Felix and I were separated for 14 hours as we were in different buildings in the hospital and both needed some special care. I felt immense guilt that I wasn’t there for Felix when he needed me the most and was probably just wanting to breastfeed! Tom then casually mentioned that he had forgotten to tell me that he was able to give Felix his first feed with one of my syringes of Colostrum. This meant the absolute world to me to know that when I wasn't even awake to give my new-born baby his first milk that his dad was and they had a lovely cuddle whilst doing it. Thankfully the nurses were able to use all of my expressed colostrum and not one drop went to waste!
I will be forever grateful to Dawn for informing and encouraging me to express Colostrum. There’s a chance that my milk wouldn’t have come in at all due to the massive blood loss I had, and a part of me feels that my body was more ready as I had already been expressing before the birth. As I process both the wonderful and difficult parts of my labour, I feel joy knowing that Felix still had a part of me when I couldn't be there for him. If you are pregnant and reading this, please be encouraged that if you can express colostrum, you should, there’s nothing to lose! This wasn’t the start to our breastfeeding journey that I had hoped for, but we did it as a team and we are still going one year on.