Baylee shares her Birth and Postpartum stories in her own words below. Listen to her episode (754) to hear all of the details.
The morning of February 20th 2022 I woke up around 6/6:30 to some mild cramping. I didn’t think much of it as I had been having cramps for weeks. However, as I tried to fall back asleep I was unable to get comfortable and the cramping was coming in waves. I decided to start timing them to see if this might be contractions. Immediately my contractions were timing at 1.5-2 minutes apart. They were still mild and I decided that I would wait to tell James till he woke up. I got out of bed and went to sit in the living room. The contractions still came 1.5-2 minutes apart so when James and my parents started waking up I let them know I was pretty sure the baby was coming. I went and laid down with my mom for a little bit. This was such a sweet moment and it helped me relax a lot. Once the contractions started picking up I ate a little bit of fruit and tried drinking some water. I knew that this could be awhile so I decided to take a shower and do my hair so I’d be ready for the hospital. Well the shower worked a little too well. As soon as I stepped out of the shower my contractions ramped up to an almost 10/10 pain scale. They were also only a minute apart. However I was determined to still do my hair but ended up laboring on my exercise ball for the next hour. At this point it was 9:30am and I knew in my gut this baby was coming and he was coming fast. James called our doula and told her that she needed to meet us at the hospital. We left the house in such a hurry I didn’t even get to bring everything I had listed that I wanted to bring. James drove me to the hospital and accidentally missed the turn but we arrived safely. I probably scared the front desk so badly because as soon as I walked in I had such a big contraction I had to squat and breathe through the whole thing. I finally made it up to labor and delivery. My goal was to go without an epidural so all I wanted to do was get in the warm shower. However the advised me that I needed to be monitored for 20 minutes. I was about 3-5 centimeters dilated at this point. This ended up only being about 15 minutes because I begged them to let me out of the bed. At this point my doula arrived and she helped me into the shower I was in there for about 30-45 minutes and when I came out I was 6 centimeters dilated. The nurses then realized I was moving quickly and decided to move us to a delivery room. I labored for another hour and my body started to push on its own. At this point I was complete and the doctor came in to ask if we had any requests for the delivery. We asked if James could catch Strider and announce the gender. The doctor happily agreed. I started pushing and at 1:52 PM Strider made his appearance in the world. I was so overjoyed by the arrival of our little guy and the fact I had achieved my want for an unmedicated birth. It was so fast and such a whirlwind it was the most beautiful thing I have done. I am so grateful for my little man.
So I would say what I would call the craziest postpartum ever started actually almost 5 days before Strider was born. We had known since January that we could be possibly moving but we had been told that it was only a small chance. However on Valentine’s Day my husband got the call that we would be moving to Alaska. So going into my birth I knew what was ahead of us which is all I had been asking for because the thought of not knowing had been such a cloud over my head.
We knew that we wanted to drive across the country and we knew that it was probably going to take almost two months since driving with Strider was going to be very limiting to us. So at 2 or 3 days postpartum we started mapping out our road trip and we decided that we were going to get a travel trailer to tow behind us.
So we started planning and getting things set up but then around 2 weeks postpartum things really took a turn for me. One night I went to bed completely fine and then a couple of hours later I woke up freezing cold. I also felt feverish and achy. Nothing I did could get or keep me warm and I finally took my temperature which was 101/102 degrees. At this point my husband woke up and he said that I looked like I had seen a ghost and that my skin was super pale and clammy. The other thing that I had noticed is that my labia was super swollen and sore. I decided that I might have some sort of infection. I hadn’t torn with my birth but had a small abrasion but this was in a completely different area. I got my heated blanket out and slept in my fuzzy robe under two blankets and I finally felt like I had warmed up to some degree. The next morning I decided that it was probably best if I went to the ER. We agreed that my husband was going to wait in the car with Strider and then bring him in when it was time to feed. They determined that I had somehow contracted Cellulitis on my Labia. I am not sure how that happened but it was extremely painful and of course cellulitis is no joke.
They gave me some IV antibiotics and sent me home with a prescription. I immediately felt better. A side note is that when the PA at the ER was telling me what the plan was I asked if the antibiotics were breastfeeding friendly. He had said he didn’t know and was going to have to double check for me. I think it is pretty crazy that once you step outside a speciality people forget about those kinds of things.
With me feeling better and starting to recover better from the birth we started to make more concrete plans for the big move. We bought a trailer and scheduled our movers.
However, again around 7 weeks postpartum, pretty much days after I had finished the first round of antibiotics I began to have the same feverish feelings but less intense this time. I was having lots of pain in my right breast and it was also red to the touch. I was directed by my OB to return to the ER. I believe that since I had a fever they didn’t want me coming into the office. The ER speculated that it was probably mastitis and prescribed me another round of antibiotics.
However, the same thing happened about 2-3 days after I finished those antibiotics and I began to feel like I was getting the same symptoms. I returned to the ER for a third time where they ran some blood work and urine tests and determined that I had an UTI. So I was put on a third round of antibiotics.
With all of these rounds of antibiotics I always felt better immediately after I started taking the medication. But after comparing my tests from the first ER trip to the third I realized that my numbers had been the same. So I am pretty sure I had been sitting on an UTI since 2 weeks PP and we were now at almost 2 and a half months post-partum.
It seems that this last round of antibiotics did the trick because I finally started to feel better. However, the move was looming over us. Then two weeks before we were supposed to leave on our 2 month journey to Alaska I began to have some digestion issues and some of the same symptoms again. I went to my regular doctor were she diagnosed me with a cdiff infection. She theorized that because of all the antibiotics that I had been on it had wiped my gut of any good bacteria. I was prescribed my fourth round of antibiotics with instructions that if the symptoms returned I would need to follow-up with a doctor on Kodiak.
The antibiotics worked and I was symptom free for about 3 months before it started up again. Luckily we had arrived in Alaska and I was able to be seen by a new doctor. She was worried that I had recurrent cdiff and I was given another round of antibiotics. If you are keeping track this would be number 5 for me.
However, a month later my symptoms returned. My doctor and I decided to move forward with a colonoscopy. Luckily the biopsies from the colonoscopy were clear and it showed that there was no cdiff left in my colon. I am currently still working through what is going on and recovering from postpartum. My doctor and I are still searching for answers for my symptoms.
Baylee Engelhardt Bio
Baylee is a mom to 11 month old Strider and fur-baby Kokomo. She and her husband James have been together for 8 years and married for 4. Baylee is a doctor of audiology and loves her work. They currently live in Kodiak Alaska as James is stationed there with the coast guard as a c130 pilot. Baylee works from home providing auditory therapy to kids with auditory processing disorder
This episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Their commitment to providing parents with the foundation to thrive has launched the company into creating a broad range of award-winning products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably, and safely – where function and quality are not compromised. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet. Check out Ergobaby’s Embrace in Soft Air Mesh and new Evolve 3-in-1 Bouncer that we discussed on the podcast!