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When I first came across a postpartum photo of a mom massaging her uterus just moments after birth while her older child cradled her moments-old baby next to her, and her placenta rested in a bowl nearby, I was deeply moved. That is honest, and beautiful. Little did I know there was an incredible story behind this image that proves the power of a mother's intuition.
The photo, taken by Kim of Breathe In Photography, depicts mom Amy, who should know a thing or two about mother's intuition. This was her eighth baby after all. I asked Amy what she sees in this powerful image, and her answer surprised me. "In that moment I had a feeling something was off and my body told me to massage my uterus but all was fine. But my intuition kept telling me to watch for something."
It turns out Amy was suffering from PPH, a postpartum hemorrhage.
She says from the start, something was different about this labor. "It was a lot longer, and she was posterior through the two-day labour."
Still, this amazing mama had the strength to deliver her own baby, a beautiful, life-affirming experience she described to our site via email:
"[While getting a tree-of-life henna tattoo], I held on for a few extra contractions before getting in the [birth tub]. My body was telling me she was coming, and my body was starting to push. I checked myself, and I could feel her head. I tried to avoid pushing, and snuggled [up] to my husband in the water for a couple more contractions, but my body was going for it, and I could feel her getting lower and lower. I got into position and got ready to catch her! Soon her head was almost out. She was no longer posterior! I smiled and giggled, and felt her head; she has so much hair! Soon I could feel her shoulder turning and her body came twisting out. I scooped her up with my right hand/arm. I lifted her to my chest welcoming her and just being so happy and excited."
A few minutes later, it was time for Amy to deliver the placenta. She knew her cord was short, but also that something else wasn't quite right. After the placenta came out, Amy says, "I stayed in the pool a bit longer and I'm watching my bleeding closely." She transferred herself to the bed so she could monitor her bleeding, massage her belly, and nurse the baby.
"[When] I went to the washroom, I had a gush of blood. And passed some clots, but it was still normal," Amy recounts. Her midwife helped her monitor her condition for the next three hours. That's when the new mom says, "I started having some symptoms that concerned me. So I had [my midwife] check me over again, and then I had a huge gush of blood."
"During this I was communicating what I was feeling, and then had her push Pitocin and do her thing to make it stop. We both massaged my uterus together," she told us, adding, "I never lost consciousness, but at that moment had we not gotten it under control, I would have."
Amy firmly believes it was her intuition that allowed them to catch the PPH quickly, and get it under control. Ultimately, that is why this postpartum image is so meaningful for her. "I think it is a perfect and powerful photo and shows how powerful a mother's intuition is," she says, adding, "The picture to me is a reminder to always trust my instincts."
It's important to add that Amy went to the hospital to get herself checked out and make sure everything was okay. Thankfully it is, and she is able to be home, enjoying her little ones!
On a personal note, I'm about to have a fourth baby and I'll admit I'm afraid of suffering a PPH. After my third birth, I had a lot of bleeding and from what I understand, with each birth this can become more severe. Thank you to Amy for sharing her story about knowing what to look for, and trusting your gut, literally.
Photo used with permission of Breathe In Photography. "Like" Breathe In Photography here on Facebook and follow on Instagram.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.