It Takes a (VA) Village



Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during (and after) her second pregnancy.

I gave birth to my son Hunter at 3:09 p.m. on October 20. He was 10 pounds, 14 ounces and 22 inches tall. I had an amazing natural childbirth, and I am so glad I did. Here he is in all his chubby-cheek glory:

baby

Everyone always says “It takes a village…” and this is so true when you are going through the post-partum recovery and adjusting to life with a newborn. I know how lucky I am to have an amazing support team; my own little “village” that includes friends that live close and far, family, coworkers and my VA care team!

My VA was definitely there for me post-partum. I sent several secure messages regarding birth control, breastfeeding questions/referrals and follow up appointments. Secure messaging seems extra easy and convenient when you are awake at 4 a.m. with your newborn and you realize you reaaaally need to schedule that chiropractor appointment before you forget (again).

Breastfeeding was going really well during my maternity leave, and I didn’t want going back to work to interfere with how I feed my child. So I needed to be able to pump breast milk at work. I spoke to my supervisor before I came back and we set up a designated space for me to pump and arranged a schedule that enabled me to pump three times a day. It felt really nice to know my supervisor would work with me on this; it definitely made the transition easier.

Overall, I had a very relaxing six weeks of maternity leave, but it did go by way too fast! I was starting to get nervous about adjusting back to the high-paced world of Public Affairs as a mommy of two. I was especially nervous and emotional my first day back. It’s always hard to leave your baby, and I was going to have to get used to pumping at work. Thankfully, all my coworkers were understanding about my transition and have worked around my “baby” schedule, as we call it. That probably means the most to me; knowing that my VA family is 100% supportive of my choices as a working and pumping mother.

According to this article in the Washington Post, the VA’s maternity programs have covered more than 10,000 babies in five years. Covering prenatal care, labor and delivery and seven days of newborn care is a great, priceless service for our female Veterans. I am proud and thankful that my little dude is one of those 10,000 babies and that we have a great “village” of support.

About Lauren

lauren_wLauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she shared her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. You can read her story from beginning here.

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