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Mothers ... at Last

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Redbook Photo of Woman with Red Hair Holding Baby

Jody: At 11 p.m., they started me on a drug called Cervidil to soften my cervix for labor. At noon on Friday, they started an IV drip of Pitocin, which induces contractions. By dinnertime, they were talking about stopping the medication, since it didn't seem to be starting my labor — which was so discouraging. But shortly afterward, I was three centimeters dilated, and about 10 minutes after that, labor started hard and my breathing techniques just went right out the door. I started pushing at around 2 a.m. Nothing — no class, no A Baby Story — will ever prepare you for what it feels like. I tore right when I first pushed. Scotty was scared at first but then urged me on: "I see her head coming down, I see her blonde hair — keep going, she'll be here any second!" They put her on my stomach and cleaned her while she was on top of me. Zoë is so cute — she looks just like Scotty! I can't believe how in love you can be with somebody you've just met.

"Wooohooo!!" That was Carrie's first response to the baby pictures Jody sent the day after Zoë arrived. Carrie and Jenny agreed that Zoë was the most beautiful baby they'd seen since their own little girls were born.

Jody and Scott finally had the daughter they'd been dreaming of, but the couple soon learned that the worries of pregnancy are just preparation for the worries of parenthood. Zoë developed jaundice (a common condition affecting more than half of all newborns) and had to have her blood checked daily with heel pricks.

"She's been awesome, poor little girl," says Jody. "And she breast-feeds like a champ, but for a while I had to supplement with formula so she'd go to the bathroom more and get rid of the jaundice faster. I talked to Jenny about how bad I felt that I couldn't breast-feed all the time."

Jenny, the most experienced mom in the group, was a supportive shoulder for Jody. "She had lots of questions, like, 'Can I pump breast milk into the same bottle I pumped into a few hours ago?'" Jenny says. "The technical answer is no, but in real life, you have a newborn to deal with, and of course you can pump into the same bottle!" And when Jody and Scott decided to give up breast-feeding after a month and use formula (due to Zoë's reflux, jaundice, and insufficient weight gain), Jenny was there for her again. "I e-mailed her to check on her progress, making sure she wasn't engorged or had plugged ducts," Jenny says. "I also gave her tips on drying up — since no one wants to walk around with drippy boobs for no reason. I'm thrilled Jody gave breast-feeding a try. She gave Zoë breast milk for a month, and that's such a good start in life."

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