<![CDATA[Integrative Fourth Trimester Care & Lactation in the Home - Blog]]>Wed, 27 Mar 2024 15:21:09 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Mother's day]]>Mon, 22 May 2023 18:14:47 GMThttp://fourthtrimesterdoc.com/blog/mothers-dayMatrescence: the birth of a mother

I was born a mother years before giving birth to my oldest child.
My motherhood journey began when I decided I was ready to bring a child into the world.

Just because my mind and heart were ready
did not mean that my body was.

It took almost a year, including diet and lifestyle changes, acupuncture, mind body medicine, abdominal massage, alllll of the things to help my body conceive.

When I finally saw the double lines on the stick
sigh of relief.
We had done it.
It was finally happening.

Weeks later, I was so excited to share the news with family, I did an ultrasound on myself.
No heartbeat.
Frantically searching.

My first baby,
the one that changed how I saw my entire future,
my sweet Olive
I would never hold in my arms.

Since then, I have been blessed to be parenting 3 babies earthside and two angel babies.

Each baby has expanded my heart and given me life whether I get to hug and kiss their beautiful faces in the flesh or in my dreams.

Mother's Day, for me, is a day that is filled with hope, grief, and gratitude, as I know it is for so many others.

My matrescence has been a rollercoaster that at this point, I wouldn't change any of the steps along the way. But it doesn't take away the extreme pain, longing and loss that has been such an integral part of the journey.

Sending all my love to all of you who are navigating this journey of matrescence wherever you are along the way.

I see you.]]>
<![CDATA[our birth story]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2023 05:12:30 GMThttp://fourthtrimesterdoc.com/blog/february-25th-2023The idea for Fourth Trimester Doc was born after Dr. Haggerty had given birth to her first child.  She knew when she got pregnant that her baby would need to see a physician a few days after the birth.  When she thought about needing to go into a pediatric office when her baby was only a few days old, she immediately sought alternative options.  She was happy when she was able to find a pediatric practitioner who would be willing to come to her home to evaluate her baby within a week after the birth.  However, during the visit, she quickly realized that the focus was solely on her baby and with no focus on her, the new mom.  This complete disconnect was emphasized when she realized she would not be seeing her own practitioner until 6 weeks postpartum.

The maternal mortality rate in the United States is one of the worst in the developed world.  It truly is no wonder though, when we expect a new mother to have to walk into clinic within days of the birth, bleeding due to a wound the size of a placenta inside the uterus, leaking milk from engorged breasts, with a weak pelvic floor from just pushing a human out of her body and/or possibly with a stitched wound across her abdomen from a cesarean.  Any other form of abdominal surgery, our medical system recommends rest, but new mothers/birthing people are expected to carry a car seat and take care of a newborn baby as if nothing happened to her body.  Though it should be common sense, research shows that in home postpartum care for mothers/birthing people and newborns increases breastfeeding duration, decreases perinatal depression, and decreases infant mortality.  When mothers/birthing people are supported, moms/birthing people and babies do better. 

As a physician who has attended hundreds of births and has cared for mothers/birthing people and their newborns for years in the clinic setting, Dr. Haggerty had felt trapped as if there was no other options and this was just the best we could do within the context of the conventional medical system model.  However, she is not one to "follow the rules" and has decided to break out of the system.  Thus Fourth Trimester Doc was born.  By creating her own model of care, she no longer needs to answer to the bureaucracy of the healthcare systems of conventional medicine.  She believes that mothers/birthing people and their newborns deserve better care, and that despite what the traditional model makes it seem, mothers/birthing people are worthy of being cared for. 

At Fourth Trimester Doc, we feel the transition to a mother/parent is a sacred time that deserves honor and respect.  Although the newborn has come from the mother's/birthing person's body, they are still very much connected and should be treated as a pair.  What is happening with one's health affects the other and visa versa.  In cultures around the world and ancient traditions, mothers are part of a tribe whose members help care for and provide support to the new mom/birthing person during the transition into motherhood/parenthood.  This tradition has been lost for so many, which has led to a significant lack of support.  We, at Fourth Trimester Doc, would be honored to be a part of your tribe.

Fourth Trimester Doc is the FIRST and ONLY physician practice in Minnesota providing this type of care for mothers/birthing people and newborns and one of only a handful across the country.  Dr. Haggerty is seeking to revolutionize 4th trimester care.  She has connected physicians and other healthcare practitioners across the country who are tired of the current medical system and want to do better for their patients by co-founding the Center for 4th Trimester Care (C4TC), a national nonprofit actively working on this revolution.  She wants mothers/birthing people to know that we hear you and we are working to create change.  

We are here to support you in the comfort of your own home with direct access to your physician whenever you need it.  While you are exactly what your baby needs, support is paramount for you to be able to achieve your goals and thrive during the 4th trimester.]]>
<![CDATA[Just say "no" to APNO]]>Tue, 11 May 2021 02:49:11 GMThttp://fourthtrimesterdoc.com/blog/just-say-no-to-apnoHere’s the deal:

You deserve so much better than APNO.

No other dermatitis on the human body
would a physician prescribe
a steroid,
and an antibiotic
all at once.

Because we actually diagnose what is causing the dermatitis (rash/lesion)
and treat with the appropriate treatment.
If it is fungal, we prescribe an antifungal.
If it is bacterial, we prescribe an antibiotic.
If it is inflammation due to an irritant or contact dermatitis, we prescribe a steroid.
We do not just throw
the whole kitchen sink at it
and hope for the best.

For some reason,
when it comes to nipples,
suddenly we no longer take the time
to diagnose and
treat appropriately. 

There are several reasons for this:
Our patriarchal society that does not value appropriate diagnosis and treatment for a condition that mainly affects people who identify as women.
Leading to poor training for physicians and other healthcare professionals in how to diagnose and treat this primarily woman issue.
Postpartum people are not prioritized by the medical system. The only people assessing the nipple concerns are lactation consultants who, while amazing and so incredibly valued and needed, are not trained and it is not within their scope of practice to diagnose and treat nipple lesions/dermatitis.  

What do we do?
Lactating parents deserve better than APNO.
You deserve the time and expertise of someone who can accurately diagnose and appropriately treat the specific issue.
Find a physician/midwife who will take a good history and do a quality physical exam and figures out what is causing the specific concern.

At Fourth Trimester Doc, we are breastfeeding medicine specialists and provide in home care in the postpartum period for mothers/postpartum people and their newborns.  Send in a contact form via our website or call to schedule a free consultation.  We would love to be a small part on your journey of motherhood.

​Dr. Haggerty]]>
<![CDATA[Matrescence]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2020 17:39:50 GMThttp://fourthtrimesterdoc.com/blog/matrescenceMatrescence (n): The process of becoming a mother
My favorite word.  A word that is so simple in description, yet so complex, so forgotten, so deep, so neglected.  A word that has become the focus of my life both personally and professionally.
Matrescence (when pronouncing it, think adolescence) is a term that is just starting to make its way into the spotlight… finally!  Finally, there is a term that encompasses all of the hormonal, emotional, spiritual, social, and physical changes that a woman goes through when transitioning into motherhood.  We have a whole field of adolescent medicine which focuses on this transitional period in life when there are large hormonal shifts, identity and emotional development, and significant physical changes.  But when it comes to the transitional period for women with similar magnitude and breadth of changes, the term is still in its infancy, just becoming realized.   
Matrescence was first coined by Dana Raphael, Ph.D., an anthropologist and breastfeeding advocate in 1973 in The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding: “Childbirth brings about a series of very dramatic changes in the new mother’s physical being, in her emotional life, in her status within the group, even in her own female identity. I distinguish this period of transition from others by terming it matrescence to emphasize the mother and to focus on her new life style.”
Interestingly, around that same time she also coined the term “doula” to identify a woman who served as a supportive companion to a woman during childbirth.  It took 35 years until matrescence was revived by Aurelie Athan, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at Columbia University, and applied it to maternal mental health.  According to Aurelie Athan, Ph.D.: “Matrescence is a developmental passage where a woman transitions through pre-conception, pregnancy and birth, surrogacy or adoption, to the postnatal period and beyond. The exact length of matrescence is individual, recurs with each child, and may arguably last a lifetime! The scope of the changes encompass multiple domains --bio-psycho-social-political-spiritual-- and can be likened to the developmental push of adolescence.”
Aurelie Athan wrote about, presented on, created a course, and even created a certificate program about matrescence, but it wasn’t until Alexandra Sacks, MD, a reproductive psychiatrist, wrote her Op-Ed in the New York Times in 2016, later presented a Ted Talk in 2017 and since published a book on the topic that matrescence has started to become truly acknowledged.
My first introduction to thinking more deeply of this sacred time was when I first heard the phrase that is often said in the birthing world: “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." – Osho. 
This quote has never really sat well with me and I think it is because I see matrescence as so much more than the that moment of birth.  A mother is born months and sometimes even years before a baby emerges from the womb.  The transformation may begin with a dream, a longing, or even come as a complete surprise when looking at a pregnancy test or gazing into the eyes of her baby, months after it was born.  Her matrescence will forever change her, whether she holds a child in her arms, her heart, or her dreams.
A woman defines for herself when she identifies as a mother.  Is the woman who has a miscarriage and grieving the loss of her unborn child not considered a mother?  Is the woman who has been struggling with infertility, getting invasive testing, taking medications, adjusting her lifestyle all in the hopes of conceiving not considered a mother? What about foster and adoptive mothers?  Or the woman who has given birth, but maybe months later has yet to feel like a mother?  That definition belongs to no one but the woman themselves.
This blog will be a forum for discussing all topics related to the process of becoming a mother.  It will be a place where we will be Making Sense of Matrescence.  Thank you for being here.  I am so grateful that you have found this space and that you are taking this journey with me to honor and learn about this transitional time.]]>