Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Overcoming The Fear

I'm struggling with overcoming The Fear.  In this instance The Fear comes in the shape of What If of a home birth. 
I had my first doctor's appointment yesterday.  Now, understand that I think I have found what I consider to be the best doctor ever. I heart him. He's been really great about everything we've seen him for. He's been great with Fiona and telling me " You've done this before, you know what you're doing". He was supportive and empathetic when I miscarried earlier this year.  He sees no reason I shouldn't be able to have a 3VBAC with this pregnancy.  The mention of home birth and he runs down the risks of rupture and better to be at the hospital and blah blah blah.  It's to be expected. Honestly I'm not upset with him. It's his job. It's what he's been doing for more years than I've been alive.  What I was not expecting was my reaction.
What if he's right? It's The Fear. The fear of the Unknown. The Uncontrollable. Fuck.
Here's the thing - I know better.  I KNOW better. I know what the risks are. From the most recent published studies.  I know what the latest ACOG recommendations are for VBAC and VBAMC. I know that I can do this. I have done it. I know that my body has the ability. I know it.  But what if something goes wrong?  Will I know that? Just In Case is the reason I went to the hospital with Fiona.  I wasn't feeling right and I went in Just In Case. I have no regrets about my birth experience with her, but there are things I didn't like. They were hospital policy things that I couldn't control. That in itself I didn't like.  I had to explain my allergy to adhesives because of the hep-lock. I couldn't squat to push (and I firmly believe that she would've been born faster had I been allowed to squat, but it wasn't a convenient position for the doctor). I had to pee in front of strangers. I had to beg to go home. Those things I didn't like.
I labored for 5 hours in that hospital from the time my water was broken until that 9lb 7oz baby made her entrance into the world. It was the most amazing, most powerful thing I have ever done.  It is not this pregnancy that I look forward to but the upcoming birth. I want to feel like that again. 
But what if something goes wrong? Something that we can't handle at home? I know that very few things that do happen are instant.  And the ones that do it doesn't matter where you are. I know that an experienced midwife can say "OK, it's time we get some help" long before it gets to critical. I know the risks are minimal. Almost non-existent. Almost.
But how to get over The Fear?  How do I get past it?  And where the hell was this last time? This is mind crippling. This has given me an understanding for those that are scheduling c-sections despite the risks and despite the research.  
The fear has power that I don't know how to shake.  I want a natural birth. I want drug-free, intervention-free, come-when-you're-ready-baby birth. I don't want to be stuck with needles, strapped to machines, told how and when to push (trust me, they don't need to tell you that) and have someone's hand somewhere it very much does not belong!  I want the sounds of my house, not the beep of machines. I want my husband's hands to be the hands that first touch our baby (this is his main reason for wanting a home birth - I can't make this shit up, ladies, I'm not that witty).  I want to not be afraid of what could happen if we aren't in the hospital. 
I've seen your little heart beat, I've seen your hands move and the outline of your little body. I know that my body is that which nurtures you and protects you and gives you life - how can I risk that?
How can I get past The Fear and have faith in my body when it's never betrayed me before?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Heart Canada (and Denmark, India, Poland, Ghana and Russia)

OK, so when I started this blog I did it as a way to keep friends and family updated with my pregnancy. Since then it's evolved a bit into something else. It's a sneak peak into my random thoughts and world. It's become a sounding board as much as a poster board for what's happening in my life. It's just me. I don't claim to be a fantastic writer. I don't aspire to be TFB or Strocel - they are truly amazing women and fantastic writers. I don't post as often as I'd like to (truthfully I could just sit and write about random crap that pops in my head all day, it's how my brain works). I'm not trying to offer advice or guide anyone. This is just me.
So while I'm sitting on hold waiting for information from an insurance company for the 5th time today my mind starts to wander, as it's known to do. Honestly, I have the attention span of a senile and mildly retarded fruit fly. I decided to poke around on my blogger site and see what exactly some of those little tab things at the top were. I'm bored and have already checked Facebook 6 times in the last 45 seconds, nothing new there.
I clicked on Stats. As I expected it's a list of the percentages of stuff on my page. Number of views on my posts (42 for the one announcing my pregnancy - pretty cool!), where the traffic is coming from (mostly Facebook), and where my Audience is. So I figure it's just going to be some goofy something that maybe has it broken up by state and maybe I can see how many people I know in different states. Silly I know. Fruit fly here people. It breaks up page views by Now, Today, Week, Month, and All Time. This is where it gets cool. 7 people in Canada have read my blog this week! And someone in Denmark! How friggin' cool is that? Seriously, if you're in Canada and Denmark and reading my blog then a)OMGthatssofriggincoolIloveyou!!!! and b) drop a comment and say hello! Tell me how you found this and why in creation you're reading it. Don't get me wrong I'm totally and completely amazed that you would take the time, but I don't think I'm all that amazing.  I'm curious as to what had you so bored.
In the last month I have had people from Canada, India, Poland, Denmark, Ghana (apparently in West Africa, had to look that one up - sorry),  and Russia. Since May I have had traffic from China, France and Israel, too!
This is one of those things that is probably only cool to me. But, this is my virtual medicine cabinet and you peek at your own risk.
Seriously, probably the coolest thing that's happened to me in a long time.
I need to get out more.

Official Announcement

So here it is. Our Official Announcement!
I'm pregnant again!

I thought it best to answer some of the questions we've been getting...

  1. You know what causes that right? - Yes, yes we do. And that's the best part of trying.
  2. Are you trying for a boy? - I would like a boy. But, a healthy baby is what we are hoping for most. 
  3. What if it's another girl? - Then we start our own volleyball team. 
  4. How many are you going to have? - We figure we'll keep trying until we get an ugly one.  Actually, this is it.  Any more and we can't buy a car at a regular dealership. I'm not OK with that. 
  5. When are you due? - April
  6. April what? - Whenever the baby lets us know it's time. 
  7. Where are you delivering? - At home.  No, I'm not nuts.
  8. Who's your doctor? - I've got a great family doctor, Dr. Merrill in Enumclaw, and we'll have midwifery care as well.  
  9. Is this the reason behind your increased Facebook posts on birth and delivery? - No, there has been an increase in discussion and information as of late. I think it's important to share the information with people who might not know that these changes are happening.  
  10. When is your first doctor's appointment? September 27th.
That's it I guess. We're really excited.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

No, I have not decided to give up on the rest of this year. I have not decided that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas aren't really worth the hassle (although, that doesn't sound half bad!). I am a mother of four children, and three of them are school-age.  Today is my New Year!  With a family full of educators I know I'm not the only one.
Today is the day we get back on track. Today we get back in the swing of things and say goodbye to the chaos of summer and hello to the controlled chaos of the new school year.  We have bedtimes and schedules to keep. I start making dinner again. We sit at the table and enjoy a rambunctious half hour between practices, homework, concerts, chores and business travel.  I wrote the first of many checks for lunch money today.
I put more miles on the mini-van between now and first report cards than I do all summer.  It's carpool for golf practice, after-school activities and Mom-can-I-go-here's. It's taking Fiona to the indoor park twice a week.
This is the time of year where I vow to get more organized. To get this large family in order and running smoothly.  I set the resolution to be more patient but am usually screaming about homework the first week. I take a look at our finances and set new goals, completely forgetting that the budget I set out to go by last year has gone out the window more times than I can count. 
This year I will get the place organized and get rid of the stuff I've slated for donations but never managed to get out of the house. I will keep up on laundry and give the kids some leeway on chores. I will not yell - as much.  I will work with Fiona three times a week for 30 minutes or more on pre-school activities. I will get back into my exercise routine that was working so well before I went on vacation. 
I know this all seems a little ambitious. And it is. I know that all of these things are not going to happen, and those that do are not going to happen in the Norman Rockwell way that lives in my head.  I'm realistic about it.  As I watch the school buses start to make their rounds again it leaves me hopeful for the year ahead. 
So, I'll say it again - Happy New Year everyone! May it be all that you hope for and more.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Magic of Disney

The Magic of Disney is real. I never thought it was. A clever marketing ploy, a play on the creative minds that make up the Disney animation maybe. What I was not expecting was there to be actual magic.
The girls managed to go off together and not fight. They laughed and joked and had fun together. The bickering was down to a minimum.
My husband smiled, a real, happy smile for the first time in weeks. He left his phone in his pocket for hours at a time. We flirted and laughed together. I was able to relax and loosen my control a bit.
I giggled with my girls again.

The memories from this trip will last a lifetime. It was a lot of work. It was amazingly expensive. It was worth every bit!
I thought I posted this last week when we got back! Oops.

Educator or Militant ?

Anyone who has known me for more than a day knows my passion for birth and all things birth related. It is something that I feel so strongly about that I want to make it my career. After 30-ish years of not knowing what I want to be when I grow-up I feel like I have finally found my calling. I want to be a Childbirth Educator. I haven't figured out exactly which path to take yet but I'm working on it. There are a number of different paths, so I'm just down to picking one.
Because this is something so dear to my heart it is something that I am immersed in almost daily. I have a list of blogs that I check regularly to read the newest information and keep up on what is going on in the birth community. I read blogs by midwives, doulas, educators, and women who are not in the "business" of birth, but find the current state of affairs less than desirable. I read the findings that are published on the blogs by the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) that set the standard for modern maternity care. I've read the benefits and risks of "Routine Interventions". I know the c-section rate for my state and where to find the information by hospital. I know my stuff and I know where to find what I don't know.
Birth, more accurately c-section birth, has been in the media a lot lately. The national average hovers right above 30%. 1/3 of all American babies are born via c-section. This varies by region, state and hospital of course but that's the average. Any woman giving birth has a 1 in 3 chance of having surgery merely for giving birth. This bothers me. Not a little. A LOT!
I post links on my facebook page. OK, I post a lot of links on my facebook page. I want to get the information out there. Is that not the best way to educate people but to make the information available to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to see it? Sometimes the comments get...heated. Nothing vulgar, nothing hurtful, but there is passion behind the opinions. During these "debates" is where I start to wonder - Have I crossed the line to Militant? I've heard "You're so passionate about this". Is that nice for "you're a nut-job about this stuff!!"? How will I learn to control my passion in a way that will allow me to educate my students in a (at least mildly) non-biased way?
Birth is such a profoundly personal experience that we share a piece of with everyone we come in contact with. It can be a spiritual or traumatic experience. I feel like education is key.
During a recent debate on the overuse of c-sections I was lucky to engage with a friend who had a very life saving c-section. It is hard to explain to her how any doctor could provide anything less to anyone else. She is rightfully concrete in her belief that c-sections are life saving procedures. Without them she and her baby could have lost their lives. I have a few friends that have had this experience and am thankful for the surgery that kept them here to debate with me. I am grateful for the c-section that I had that I believe saved Allie. I know that there is cause for c-section.
I have a friend that has worked in L&D and has seen the devastating outcome when the interventions were not fast enough. The lifeless babies, the hemorrhaging mothers. I am grateful for these friends and their perspectives. Know that I love and respect each of you for them.
But I also know the flip-side. I know the women who have been traumatized by their births. I know the women who have suffered PTSD because of how their bodies and their babies were treated during this most sacred of times. The women who feel violated and scared. Where fear tactics were used to force them into doing something they didn't believe in "for the safety of the baby" only to deliver a baby without complications. This is where the "well at least you have a healthy baby" statement usually comes in. What I think some people overlook or don't realize is the At Least in that statement. At least you have a healthy baby. Because you no longer have confidence in yourself, your body or your ability to protect your child. At least, because you no longer have trust in the medical providers that are supposed to keep you and your baby healthy. At least. My heart breaks for each and every one of you that has gone through that.
These are the things I want to educate women about. First time to fifth time and beyond moms.
For me natural birth is the way. It is how I want to bring my babies into the world. It's how I believe that babies should be born. But I didn't always feel this way. I didn't always have the education that I have now. I want to educate. Not to make a decision for someone, but to help them to make the most educated decision that they can. Do you want an epidural in the parking lot? Fine. Know the risks. Know the advantages. Water birth? Know the risks and advantages. Scheduling your next c-section? Ask the questions. Know the risks. Know the advantages. Talk to your providers. Ask the questions they may not want to answer. How do I provide this without being the Crazy Birth Lady?
Be patient with me please, as I go through this process. There are none more convicted than the converted. Know that I believe in my heart that the choice is yours and I'm just trying to help.