I was pregnant with my fourth baby when I met Dr. Maxwell. I had heard of her a year before through a friend of mine who had only amazing things to say about her care. Yet, I was apprehensive, and honestly quite fearful, of chiropractic adjustments. Looking back, my reasoning for fear was pretty poor. I had “heard stories” about negative outcomes and never wanted to look into it as an option for me. Mind you, I have many friends, family members, and even my husband who visits a chiropractor both for preventative maintenance and care related to injury. When I met Dr. Maxwell, it was her kind smile, calm nature, and loving presence that put me at ease. At that point, I wasn’t aware that shortly I would be seeking her care, I just knew that I really liked her, deep down.
I am a birth worker. I support women and their families as a doula and lactation counselor. It was easy to see how her care could make a difference in pregnancy and postpartum and I was happy to refer my clients to her. Working as a doula, and being pregnant, was incredibly taxing, both physically and emotionally. For a time, it was necessary for me to separate myself (my pregnancy, my expectations for birth) from that of my clients because I needed to give them all of me so that they could be their very best for their births and their babies. However, the time came when I needed to focus on me and the little one in my womb. At around 35 weeks, I found myself in a place of subtle anxiety and disconnect. There was a lingering feeling that I might not be strong enough for this birth or this baby. To be fair, all women go through this stage, but it felt amplified as a birth worker. I knew about birth. I knew the good, the bad. I knew the importance of physical health and mental well-being. I made an appointment to see Dr. Maxwell.
I had nothing to fear but myself. Dr. Maxwell was incredibly gentle and knowing. What’s more, after each visit I felt amazing! My body moved easier. My baby moved into a better position. I was again comfortable in my pregnant body and I could tell my baby was preparing for an earthside debut. Only a few weeks before I had had this lingering feeling that my baby was in a strange position. I felt feet and hands and elbows and knees all over my belly. Belly mapping told me that the baby was posterior, which isn’t the best position for birth, so I was worried. After the first adjustment, my baby moved into a more optimal position. I was thrilled! What’s more, I felt confident in my expectations for birth and I once again felt that connection between me and my baby that’s so important for a healthy delivery. When “birth” day came, I was ready, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I trusted my body and myself. My little boy was born within an hour and a half of labor beginning, and with a sense of control and ease that I look back on with great joy.
Here’s the thing about babies who are born quickly, they don’t always get the time to process what’s happening. They are in a nice cozy womb, and then are whooshed out into the world. Such speedy labors can cause head and neck compression, leading to latch issues, and a baby who generally just seems rather uncomfortable. That was my baby. Although I held him gently in my arms and whispered loving words, he screamed – almost surprised he was here. Nursing and snuggles gave him comfort, but his latch was tight (which wasn’t comfortable for me) and he wouldn’t be laid down (which isn’t easy when caring for three other children). Within the first two weeks of his birth, we were at Dr. Maxwell’s to help the little guy get adjusted to his new world.
The change was gradual, but noticeable after each visit. His latch improved and nursing became less painful for me and more effective for him. He became more comfortable in his own body. He would let me lay him down on his own for longer periods, allow someone besides me to hold him, and would settle into a car seat for a trip to town more easily. All of these had been incredibly stressful for him.
Today, my son is a year old. People are surprised when I tell them what a struggle it was in the beginning. They are shocked to find out that he cried for the first three months of his life and only wanted his mama, because now, his demeanor is the exact opposite. He is calm, curious, comfortable. He welcomes new experiences with a smile and a laugh. He still sees Dr. Maxwell because even infants can be hard on their little bodies, and with two brothers and a sister, play can be rough. He feels good after each adjustment and I know that it helps to keep him healthy. Besides, I relish in those sweet belly laughs that come pouring from his squishy face whenever Dr. Maxwell works her magic. He loves it!
This has been an amazing journey for myself, for my doula practice, and for my family. I’m truly grateful for the gentle and effective care Dr. Maxwell has provided, and will continue to provide well into the future.