I just wanted to share my experience after our baby girl was born with the umbilical cord around her neck. It might help someone else.
I had mild to somewhat painful contractions on and off for a couple of days (not BH, but real contractions), but did not increase from 2cm dilation. On the actual ‘birthday’ I woke up at 4am to really painful contractions, but still irregular, and bloody show. I went through the day until about 3pm, where all of a sudden the contractions were really, really painful and did not seem to subside at all. It was like one very, very long contraction. We went to the hospital immediately.
I had planned an epidural-free birth, but after 1.5 hours laboring at the hospital without any break from excruciatingly painful contractions and blood running down my legs, I couldn’t get the epidural fast enough. I dilated from 2cm to 6cm in a little less than 1 hour, before the epidural. Once the epidural was set, the doctor broke the water and it was stained with meconium. From then on it only took another hour and baby girl was born. She had the umbilical cord around her neck. Judging from the stained placenta, she had been in distress for hours already, probably when the contractions started to become unbearable.
Long story short, she is fine and perfectly healthy. But here is where it gets interesting. I was having issues with breastfeeding, it was very painful. We went to a lactation specialist, who, after a couple of questions, asked, if her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. She said, that it is common for babies to be very tight when they were in distress when born. So tight, that she did not want to open her mouth all the way. Also her neck muscles were very strong, while we thought, that she might be a bit more developed, it was actually due to her being so tight. The lactation specialist used a massage, only for a couple of minutes and it made a HUGE difference. She started to open her mouth all the way immediately and I’m now able to nurse without pain.
The specialist did say, that my body probably reacted to her stress, making it impossible for me to open up more. The epidural made me relaxed enough, so that I was able to open up and push the baby out fast.
It did make me feel better about taking the epidural, but most of all, I’m happy to be able to nurse (almost) painfree now. Baby girl and I are still having discussions about positions.
So, if your labor is funky, doesn’t feel right or if your baby is born with the cord wrapped around the neck, there might be consequences that reach after just the birth. Finding a great lactation specialist is really, really helpful - and nursing issues can have reasons beyond what we might think. The lactation specialist at the hospital told me, that I would not be able to nurse because one of my nipples was flat (which isn’t even true) and threw a nipple shield at me. Go with your gut instinct and find another specialist if you don’t trust that person. The pediatrician might also be able to refer you to a good specialist.