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For whatever reason and I don’t know what it was that I told myself I had to get to 6 weeks before I could as for help. I think it was partly because I didn’t want to go in and be told that there was nothing wrong because that seems like the worst possible scenario for me was to be in this much pain and be told there is something wrong with you.
Morgann is a wife, a mother of an almost 2-year-old girl and a 1-month-old girl, and a birth doula in the Phoenix area. Morgann enjoys walks in the evening before putting her girls to bed, spending quality time with good friends, and talking about all things related to pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Morgann grew up in the Seattle area and married her husband, Nathan in August of 2013. They welcomed their first daughter into the world in November of 2014. Not long after, the prospect of a job and an opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree brought their family to Phoenix, AZ. Morgann quickly plugged into the birth community here as a birth doula with a local birth center. Around the same time, she became pregnant with their second daughter who was recently born on July 31 of this year. Though Morgann is currently taking a break from active doula work, she continues to be involved in the birth community in the Phoenix area. Breastfeeding support is something she is passionate about, as neither of her breastfeeding journeys have been easy. Her hope is that she would be able to offer some sort of encouragement, education, or insight to podcast listeners.
Growing Up: Lived at home with Mom and Dad and younger twin brothers. Her mom was a stay at home mom and her dad worked and traveled a lot. She loved school and was also a jock playing sports all year round. Her Dad was strict and had high expectations for all the kids. Her mom was dubbed “Dory do it all.” She was very active in the community and Morgann lived a very fast paced life. Her norm was to go 110 percent, 110 percent of the time.
Thoughts on becoming a doula:
There has always been something in her that has always been fascinated by pregnancy, birth and babies. She was 2 1/2 years old when her younger twin brothers were born. Morgann does not remember her mother being pregnant,however, her very first memory as a young girl as the day they were born. She remembers the flavor of the lollipops that she was given when the babies were born. She remembers the outfit she wore. She loved kids from a very early age. In high school she spent her entire Saturday studying, but her study breaks were to watch births on TLC. This was her little secret as, who else does this??
She became a teacher and one of her mentors at church was a doula. Morgann is funny as she relates first stalking her on facebook and then got to know her better. She enjoyed apprenticing with her and soon opened up her own doula practice.
Talking about breastfeeding:
Her mom, Dory tried hard to breastfeed, but unfortunately had early struggles with painful breastfeeding and severe engorgement. She was very upset and felt like a failure and because of this extreme difficulty, just did not try breastfeeding her twins. Morgann knows now and so does her mom, that she did not have help and their was a lack of education about breastfeeding. They both know now that the problem was more than likely Morgann’s tongue tie.
Preparing for breastfeeding:
Morgann learned about breastfeeding through her prenatal visits with her midwife. She read The Nursing Mothers Companion. She also watched some of her friends breastfeeding and they all seemed to be fairly comfortable doing so. Because of this, her expectation was that you give birth and you breastfeed and there was not much else to it. She is grateful for her relationships with her nursing moms friends who were there to support her. Her husband Nathan was also there for her and was extremely helpful for her.
Her midwife provided a home visit on Day 2 and by that time, breastfeeding was already excruciating. She was given suggestions which helped somewhat, but was not enough. By the time she was 6 weeks postpartum, breastfeeding continued to be painful and she cried anticipating feeding her and cried during feedings. She remembers just hitting that wall when she looked at her husband one day and said: “I just can’t do it.” Her husband said: That is okay, but we do need to feed her. As he prepared to give her formula, Morgann said No, give her to me. I will feed her. Morgann describes a whole routine that she would listen to Pandora to try and distract herself. This experience totally helped Morgann to understand why other moms would give up on breastfeeding, as she could really relate to what her mother felt and how other mothers feel when breastfeeding is difficult.
She hesitated in getting help, until at least 6 weeks until she could ask for help. She had a lot of fears about getting help, thinking she should know how to do this because after all, she is a doula and had helped other moms with breastfeeding. She was also afraid that perhaps she would be told nothing was wrong and then where would that lead her? It was easier to hesitate because her daughter was doing fabulous with weight gain and sleeping well. But at 6 weeks, she texted her doula friend and asked for a referral to a Lactation Consultant. At that visit, the tie was observed and she cried with relief as she learned that there was something specific wrong.
Morgann talks about her fears associated with having a baby with tongue tie. She did research the subject and did what she need to do go get through her fears, have her baby evaluated and an office procedure called a frenotomy performed so her babies could learn how to use her tongue properly.
Once she had the procedure she could immediately feel the difference and her sense of hope for feeding longer than 6 weeks was all of a sudden a reality. She felt strong and accomplished and empowered as she finally realized that she was not broken. There was a true reason why she had such early breastfeeding difficulties and now it was so much better.
Morgann’s contact info:
Her Story. Part 2
Morgann begins by telling us that she knew she one of the first things she was going to check once her baby was born, was not if she had 10 fingers and 10 toes, but was she tongue tied? She talks about being quite anxious about how breastfeeding was going to go. Yes, her beautiful newborn daughter, Everly ,was tongue-tied. The diagnosis was made by one of the midwives at Babymoon Inn and she was referred for a tongue tie evaluation right away. She knew at the very first latch at the birth center that her baby was tongue tied. At this point, she was an experienced breastfeeding mom who knew the difference now.
By Day 3 she was already cracked and bleeding. She did have a lot of milk, so she was pumping. The difference this time is that her baby was not interested in latching on. This made it very stressful because she was not gaining weight. She needed to spoon feed and syringe feed and used a supplementer nursing system just to get her baby fed. Morgann said that this was almost more stressful than the first time. At least her first baby was interested in breastfeeding and gaining well. Now, baby Everly was not gaining well and she knew she had to wait about 2 weeks until she could get in for the procedure.
Her pediatric appointment showed that her baby had only gained 1 oz. She was thankful for the support from her pediatrician who thanked her for choosing to breastfeed her baby, even though it is real hard. Her reassurance meant so much to Morgann and she wishes all moms had providers who were as supportive of breastfeeding. Morgann was called and had the revision done at 10 days old. She was extremely pleased with the loving care she received at this appointment also. This was a different environment than what she experienced with her first baby, however, the staff was caring and very helpful and professional.
The procedure – a frenotomy:
Morgann soon realized though that the turn around time between the revision and normal breastfeeding was not going to be nearly as quick or as easy as it was the first time. There was lots of alternative feedings to help keep Everly well fed and hydrated and she had not been breastfeeding. Now, she needed some time to learn how to use her tongue properly. She still was not sure what to do at the breast and Morgann found it helpful to get some professional help with adjusting the position and latch and get some tips on adjustments she can make in order to help her baby learn how to breastfeed properly. This process took some professional help and some adjustments and in about 3-4 days, her baby was breastfeeding well.
Her personal experiences with breastfeeding continues to make her more compassionate with all the moms she works with as a doula. She has a deeper understanding that although you are an experienced breastfeeding mom, you can still have struggles. These struggles can be different than your previous experiences.
Morgann speaks to all moms about her postpartum experience:
She really wants to be told that everything is going to be okay. She also wants mothers to know that they are doing the best job they can and they are a good mother. If you are not okay, it is okay to ask for help. It is okay, to not be okay. Sometimes we have these glorified versions of what the early days of postpartum is like and sometimes it just is not that way. Sometimes it is hard. Just because it is normal and natural does not mean that it is going to be easy. Life is not perfect and it is okay if things are not going well and to ask for help.
Morgann states that postpartum for her has been quite difficult this time and she is connected with her doula to talk about her feelings. She recognizes the importance of picking up the phone and reaching out for help.
Being a doula at Babymoon Inn:
As if on cue, Everly lets her mom know that she is hungry and is happily breastfeeding while Morgann talks to us about her job as a doula. She really enjoys being a doula, however, for right now, she is taking some time off postpartum.
Woman who want midwifery care and yet want to birth at the hospital, they can have the best of both worlds. They can see the midwives for their prenatal care and plan on a hospital birth. At the hospital, they have one of the Babymoon Inn birth doulas for their labor. Again, they can have the best of both worlds. Morgann was serving moms who were birthing in the hospital
Morgann knows that while being at births is very exciting, she also knows that it is very important for her to not be in a rush to go back to work. She is enjoying the time home with her daughters. She is enjoying her breastfeeding experience. She has no intentions of going back to work anytime soon. She will knows when the time is right and until that point, I wish her many blissful days as a new mommy.
Near the end of the interview Morgann shares how we met. It is a fun story!
Morgann’s contact info:
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