By Cayla Solomon
When I was in labour with my second, I hit 10 cm when the nurse said, “the doctor isn’t ready for you, close your legs and he’ll be with you soon.”
At first, I thought she was kidding. Surely, she couldn’t expect me to, quite literally, hold this child in?! But she – and the rest of the team – did, for over an hour. With every contraction, I could feel my baby crowning, begging to come out, without anyone listening. Finally, the stress took over and my waters were filled with meconium.
At that point, an entire paediatric team rushed into the delivery room, and with one very minimal push, our beautiful new baby was out. Not in our arms though, because his breathing was laboured and he was in some distress.
At first, I thought she was kidding. Surely, she couldn’t expect me to, quite literally, hold this child in?!
It was a very scary moment, and one that I’ve played in my head many times since that day 5 years ago. What if I would have insisted, advocated more for myself and my child, that it was time to push, and not ‘close my legs’? What if my husband had been informed enough to advocate for us all? Would our birth experience have had a different result? Would my baby still have turned out to be a highly sensitive individual, or is his temperament a result of his entry into the world?
I watched as the medical team huddled around, debating if my baby needed to be on a CPAP machine. I listened to the noises of the delivery room: the beeping of the machines, the doctors – some still between my legs and others focusing on my son – speaking to each other as if I weren’t a person living this experience.
While they all contemplated their next moves, I knew mine. “I think he’d do better if I could nurse him,” I quietly but firmly insisted.
If there is only one thing I remember as my little boy turns 5 this month, it is this: trust your parental instinct. You have it for a reason.
They all looked at me, then at each other, then back at me again, before agreeing and placing my baby in my arms. I laid him on my skin, waited for him to latch, and then it happened. He calmed, his breathing regulated, and my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I’m so thankful this experience happened with my second child, and not my first. I shudder to think of what may have happened, had I been an inexperienced parent, not yet knowing the necessity of advocating for my child. It was a reminder that in all situations, a parent is the expert on their child. A parent knows their child best. If there is only one thing I remember as my little boy turns 5 this month, it is this: trust your parental instinct. You have it for a reason.
Cayla Solomon is a certified Sleep and Well Being Specialist, a certified parent educator, and a mother of 3. Cayla believes in finding sleep solutions through responsive parenting practices, while building connected relationships. She is passionate about helping families improve sleep without resorting to sleep training. You can find Cayla at @OfficialSleepingBeauties on Instagram, or at www.sleepingbeauties.ca.