Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going

Monday, May 30, 2011

Please follow me on WordPress...

Blogger is just having way too many issues. I still can't comment on old posts and I am really worried about losing posts (although I have started importing posts right after I write them).  So, I'm going to start posting over there exclusively.  I will leave this as my last post so anyone who comes here can know I've moved.

So, without further ado, let's move on over here

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blogger Sucks

But, C, your comment on my post about a possible 2CBAC was just what I needed. I adore you. <3

Sex drive, is that you?

I can't believe it. After almost a year in hiding, it appears my sex drive is trying to make a comeback.  I felt an almost forgotten tingling in my nether regions last night.  At first, I thought maybe I had pulled a groin muscle or was maybe having a muscle spasm or something, but then I realized it know.  That.  I was beginning to wonder if my thyroid (is this what controls libido?!) went completely haywire at some point after conceiving E, but it appears it is back on the mend.  Whoo hoo!!!

I am not telling J about this recent development until 6 months when I will remove my figurative chastity belt and go buck wild (with my VCF and spermicide, of course...unless I can find something better in the meantime). Serves him right for not reading my blog.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just as good the third time around?

My dear friend C shared this blog post with me earlier this week, thinking it might be of interest to me.  How my friends know me so well.  She found it really interesting that this woman, who had a great birth, was scared to try again, while so many of us who didn't have a great experience with our births are anxious to try again and "get it right."

What's funny is that as soon as I read this piece, I realized I have a lot of the same fears about our next birth.  Which is weird, right, because this lady had the kind of birth I dream about, and might think a cesarean would be a birth she'd dread.  But, for me, my CBAC was so powerful and amazing, I worry that the next one, if I wind up with a 2CBAC, won't be as amazing as E's was.  How strange to find this kind of "I get it" connection with a woman who had a vaginal birth.  To tell the truth, I worry that I'm putting so much time and effort into working through all of my fears, going deeper into myself than I ever thought I would, getting all these Mayan abdominal massages. etc--if I wind up on the operating table again, will I feel like I failed? I certainly have none of those feelings about E's birth, but what if I'm not as lucky next time?

I really feel like I got the birth I needed with E--had I had my HBAC, I might have been stuck in the mindset that I was during my labor, being fearful and untrusting of all OBs and hospital births.  I learned a lot about the different types of care a woman can get and that, yes, there are in fact, compassionate doctors and nurses out there who care about their patient's experience, great hospitals that encourage breastfeeding and will help moms work it out.  I don't feel like I need to learn that lesson again.  I feel like the lesson I need to learn next is about overcoming myself, going primal and getting done what I need to get done to birth my baby. Preferably vaginally, pleaseandthankyou.  So, I'm going to keep it real and say that I do worry that I won't bounce back as quickly emotionally as I did with E if I have a cesarean birth again.

I'm sure I can cry all over B and K about this over the next couple of years.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I am so almost done with Blogger

Again, I cannot reply to comments on today's post....

Just a reminder, I'm also on wordpress here.

And C, you are not a slacker! I'm just lucky that B is so well versed in homeopathy and can get me on a regime early that can help with these issues I know I have. Plus, you don't have any issues with varicosities or BP, so you're good ;)  I definitely suggest looking into the flower essences. I seriously have noticed that I am a lot more relaxed.  Like I said, I'm not sure if it works because it actually works or because I expect it to work, but either way, I'm happy! :)


So, I thought I would log here the various supplements I'm taking just in case anyone who is reading struggles with the same issues I do.  So if you're a nervous Nelly who tends to have a higher baseline blood pressure and also deals with varicose veins, some of these might help.

Cayenne (pill)
Garlic (pill)
One dropper of nerve tonic with Cherry Plum and Aspen flower essences
White Oak Bark (liquid tincture)
Butcher's Broom (liquid tincture)

Nerve tonic

Nerve tonic
White Oak Bark
Butcher's Broom

I may tweak some of these when I get pregnant again.  For example. my BP was really great without any supplementation up until the last couple weeks when we had to introduce some tinctures, so if it is the same way, I may eliminate the cayenne and garlic.  Plus, I imagine the cayenne would give me a heck of a lot of heartburn, which I have dealt with in both pregnancies.   Ick! I may also increase the Butcher's Broom and White Oak Bark (for varicosities) to three times a day.  I will probably also add some Floradix in there too just to be sure I am good on iron, especially since I'm a vegetarian.

And I may OD on nerve tonic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Right on Target

Today as I was checking out at Target, a mom asked me what kind of wrap I had and where I got it.  She was looking for something more lightweight for summer.  You know where this is going, right?  Of course, we started talking about our births and turns out, she was a cesarean mom too.  I just love when the Universe brings me into contact with all these lovely women. I asked her if she had heard of ICAN and we talked briefly about the group and our monthly meetings.  I gave her the ICAN brochures and business cards I keep stocked in my diaper bag for occasions just like this as well as K's business card and brochure.  Call me biased, but I just don't think a VBAC mom can do better than my girls, so I always pass on their info (to everyone, but most especially VBAC moms).  It is also a good way to introduce the idea of HBAC to moms who may not otherwise be aware that it is an option.  I can tell this mom was receptive and interested in learning more about our group and coming to monthly meetings--I hope to see her in June!  She is also relatively new to Austin, so ICAN would be a great way for her to start connecting with like-minded families.

You know, I have mentioned time and time again what a blessing my births have been to me and how they've brought wonderful new people into my life, but another way in which they have impacted me is by making me more outgoing.  I tend to be introverted, and when I was young, it was pretty paralyzing.  My mother put me in acting classes to help with it, but I still had to work really, really hard to engage people that I didn't know (and even some that I did!).  I still have this tendency, but seriously, when it comes time to talk about birth or VBAC or ICAN or anything related to these things, it is like a light goes off in my head and I am a different person.  If you had told me five years ago that I would be going up to random people just because I heard the word "cesarean" and interjecting myself into conversation, exchanging contact information and connecting like this, I would have called you crazy.  But it's happened and, for the most part, it's really nice.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Three Years

Today is my first son, A's, third birthday.  As such, it is also the third anniversary of my first cesarean birth.  Since I have collected so many more like-birth-minded (that is not a word, not punctuated properly, and the words are probably out of order, but you know what I mean), I have gotten many congratulations on my birth day today as well.  Wow, what an amazing feeling to be honored in that way.  Today is really such a special day--it is the day I gave birth to my first son in a way I never would have imagined, but in a way that I also wouldn't change for just about anything.  I'm constantly amazed at just how far my life has come in these three very short many relationships I have developed, the network of support I have built, so many friends I now have who love and care about me and wish the best for me and my family.

Today is a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

VBAC Success Predictor

The other day on Mothering's VBAC forum, a woman posted a thread about her OB's prediction that her VBA2C only had a 30-40% chance of success.  Of course, this thread caught my attention and I was even more excited when someone posted a link to a VBAC success predictor.  I'm not sure if I will get put in time out for this, but I, of course, did it.  I wasn't sure what weight to put in--my pre-pregnancy weight (or what I hope it to be when I get the last of E's weight off :) or the weight I will be when I deliver--so I did both of those, using the weight I was when I delivered E, which I refuse to be any bigger than (unless I start at a higher weight, which is unacceptable).  And here are my results:

With my pre-pregnancy weight--57.8% chance of success (with a confidence interval of 54.6%-60.9%)
With the weight when I delivered E--48.8% chance of success (with a confidence interval of 45.4%-52.3%)

So, basically, according to that calculator, I'm looking at about a 50/50 shot of success.  That's decent, but I'm hoping it's even higher considering how far I progressed before I was sectioned with E.  I think I will go into my next birth thinking only that I will have a vaginal birth--speaking my truth, so to speak, but it was still kind of cool to try this tool out and see what my chances might be.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

O. M. G. I'm a hippie

I have crossed into a whole new arena with regards to these massages and I am loving it.  I had a follow up tonight and it was really wonderful.  We spent some time talking about what I can do about my anxiety and I got a nerve tonic that M mixes herself.  I will be taking that three times a day now.  She also put a couple flower essences in there--Aspen and Cherry Plum.  She showed me these cards that had affirmations that went along with the essences--I couldn't find the exact quotes online, but I found these that go with the Bach brand of flower remedies and they are basically the same thing, so I thought I would share them here.

Aspen....Trust--I have faith in life.  I am being guided.  I am filled with courage and inner strength.
Cherry Plum....Compousre--I remain balanced and strong under extreme stress.  I acknowledge a higher force guiding my life.

I am totally writing those affirmations on index cards and taping them to my bathroom mirror so that I see them from now until forever and really internalize them.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that in a couple weeks I'm going back for a spiritual bath in addition to my massage?  This. Is. Awesome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Massage Tomorrow!

I am so excited I get to go back and see M again tomorrow for a follow up on my first Mayan abdominal massage.  My appointment is at 6:30 in the evening and I am going alone this time, so it will really give me a chance to relax and just focus on my body.  I try to take the 5-15 minutes (depending on whether I am doing a castor oil pack as well) a day that I do my massage to really check in with myself and how I'm feeling.  It's really weird because I feel connected to my scar in a way I never did after A's birth.  I'm spending so much time and energy focused on it--this is beyond corny, but I talk to it (in my head, not out loud...that would just be crazy!) and tell it how strong it is, how well it's healing, how I'm so amazed at how resilient it is and how proud I am of it for holding up so well during E's labor and how I know it will do the same for T.  What's that you say? I've lost my marbles??! That's quite possible, but I figure it can't hurt and if I speak it enough, it will be my truth.

I also plan to talk to M about doing some work on anxiety and fear.  I figure it can't hurt to try a lot of different methods for reducing my anxiety--not just about the birth, but my anxiety level in general, which tends to be high.  I would really like to improve that about myself, and I'm open to as many different techniques as I can try.

So, anyway, that's what I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I can't wait to see if she can feel improvement--I'm not sure how she measures this, but I have noticed that the bump along the side of my scar has all but disappeared.  I'm not sure if it was the massage or if it just resolved itself, but I'm happy either way and it really makes me feel like I'm doing something positive and constructive towards my goal.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tiger Box

So I went to World Market and found a box to use as the concrete balloons L suggested to me in one of her comments. I'm really excited because it's pretty deep, and not that I'm going to try to fill it, but there's plenty of room just in case.

As you can see, I am not good with the iPhone camera just yet, so don't laugh at my crappy pictures.  I'm so excited to get the EFT book J suggested.  I expect it to be here by week's end.  I have been watching YouTube videos of the technique and I'm excited to explore it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I have a dream....

That one day, one of my babies will come out of my vagina.  I hold this truth to be self evident....

No. Just kidding.  But yesternight, I had the weirdest dream, and I am wondering if any of you out there might be dream interpreters and can tell me what it means.  It was a dream about the birth of T.  You know, the baby I am not even pregnant with yet.  Yeah, not weird at all.

So, anyway, the dream starts with me having broken water and B transferring me to the hospital because contractions don't start.  Well, that's not right, because that's not what happened in real life with E. Anyway, that's what she did in the dream.  We get to the hospital--except I'm all alone there, as B didn't transport with me--and the nurses immediately start me on Pitocin.  WTF?!? After just a short time on the Pit drip, they recommend a cesarean.  I'm on my game this time--and apparently having a painless birth--so I say no thank you, disconnect myself from the Pit and proceed to leave the hospital.  Which just happens to be in the middle of a large mall.  Like Mall of America large.  Which would pretty much be my nightmare location, birthing or not.  My sphincters would be locked tight as all get out there, let's just be honest.

Anyway, I run back into B, who I am apparently furious with, and who also just happens to have her two kids with her.  I tell her that I'm not speaking to her after this baby is born.  Aw, sad face.  I love her!  But not in this dream I don't.  So, anyway, she tells me that she didn't have a choice--she has to maintain a good relationship with the hospital, and that we really needed to get the baby born or the staff could call CPS on me and I could be charged with reckless endangerment.  Double WTF?!?! So, anyway, we head into a disgusting public Mall of America like bathroom, that has overflowing toilet water all over the floor.  I am thinking "Surely, she does not expect me to birth my baby here."  She did, however, want to give me a cervical check.  So she checks me and I'm 10 cm.  What in the world?!?! I have had NO pain at all this entire time, and I am complete!! My wildest dreams have come true.  Except that B keeps reminding me that I'm on some sort of clock and I really need to get to birthing this baby.  So, in the middle of that nasty bathroom, she gives me a ridiculous amount of castor oil.  I mean, it was like 5 mouthfuls.  It wasn't disgusting, but that bathroom was, so we decide to start walking around the mall to try to get me to have the baby.  So, we are walking and not talking--except for me randomly telling B that I'm never speaking to her again, I can't believe she is doing this to me, how could she put me under all this pressure, etc etc. Then, she tells me that I'm not making any progress and even if I don't have the urge, I need to try to push. So, we get into a deep squatting position and I start to try to push the baby out.  Nothing.  Not even what you would expect to come out after ingesting a large amount of castor oil.

I start begging to go back to the hospital for just a little more Pitocin.  We get there and I'm told they won't give me Pit because I'm a VBAC.  Triple WTF?!? You just gave me Pitocin earlier in my dream that somehow magically and painlessly got me to complete and now you won't give me just a little more to help me push my baby out?  Alas, they wouldn't, and B kept reiterating that we couldn't leave (the mall) until I had my baby. The dream ended with me again in a deep squat, pushing despite having no urge to, and without any signs of the baby coming out.

So, wise women, what in the world does all this mean?  Why was I so upset with B? And why did she act the way she did in the dream?!? She would never act that way in real life.  What is my subconscious trying to tell me? Am I going to have a painless birth next time? I can get behind that! But I really would like to push my baby out at the end, thankyouverymuch.

But I think the most important question that needs answering is this.....where the **** was K?!?!?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baby Catcher

I have been meaning to blog about this book since I finished reading it what seems like forever ago.  Here I am now, almost through Ina May's Birth Matters, and I haven't shared my thoughts on this book.

Put simply, it's magnificent. Basically, it is the story of one midwife's career--from hospital nurse to CNM attending home births and back into the hospital as a staff midwife.  What drew her into private practice was a realization that, in the hospital at the time she was a nurse (in the 1970s), birth was often treated as pathological until proven otherwise.  The stories she related of women being knocked out, tied down, and having all manner of things done to them without their consent were pretty horrific.  It's kind of hard to believe these kinds of things took place in hospitals in our country not so long ago.

One quote from early in the book, before Peggy opened her private practice, which really resonated with me, is "Women's bodies have near-perfect knowledge of childbirth; it's when their brains get involved that things can go wrong."  On that note, I ordered the EFT Manual recommended to me by J in the hopes that I can really get out of my head and release any fears I may have before T's birth, so that during my next labor, I can really shut my brain off and just let my body do its work.

Anyhow, I digress.  The meat of the book is spent sharing stories of clients and their births during her home birth practice.  Peggy is such an excellent writer--you feel like you get to know the women she talks about as intimately as she does.  I loved reading the stories of their births--they were so very different in how they labored, and it was nice to see how different women coped with the intensity of labor.  Some were funny, some complained, some were fascinated at what was going on in their bodies, and on and on.  Her client base ranged from those that had alternative lifestyles to the ordinary, every day woman.  All of the births were as individual as the women themselves, and there was always a sense of excitement and joy in her relation of their stories.  And a great deal of humor, which I loved--one of the reasons I love K so much is her ability to make me laugh, which I really value.

I was actually really saddened when I read of how her private practice closed, after being unable to renew her malpractice insurance as the result of being sued by a woman whose baby was damaged--not even a home birth client of hers, but a woman she had agreed to be a labor coach for until she transported to the hospital.  A woman who had been advised by her doctor to get to the hospital early in labor as he felt the baby needed careful monitoring.  However, this woman had her own ideas, it appears, and really wanted to birth her way, despite the warnings.  Due to an unfortunate set of events, this woman's baby suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of a prolapsed cord.  Despite the fact that nothing Peggy did or didn't do would have changed the end result**, she was sued and forced to settle for a large sum of money, after which she could not retain malpractice insurance.  As an attorney, this part of the book really fascinated me.  I understand there are certain groups of people who feel that midwives should have to maintain malpractice insurance.  Here in Texas, CPMs are not required to carry malpractice insurance, and I personally, am just fine with that.  If they were forced to pay premiums on insurance, many of them could not afford to remain in practice--or they would have to charge so much for births that many women could not afford them.  And, in my opinion, choosing a home birth means accepting a certain amount of responsibility for whatever the outcome may be.  Yes, your baby could die or be damaged--very unlikely, but your baby could.  I think it would do home birthing women a great disservice to impose requirements on many competent, professional midwives that would force them out of practice.  And if we impose these kinds of requirements on home birth midwives, we run the risk of turning home birth into something potentially as litigious as hospital birth.  So many of the practices in hospitals are done out of fear of being sued, not necessarily what is in the best interest of mom and baby--precisely why some women are drawn to home birthing in the first place.  If we start imposing the kinds of requirements on midwives that would force them to operate more from a CYA standpoint, we run the real risk of losing any semblance of normal birth in any setting in the United States.  We also would run the risk of forcing women to choose between unassisted childbirth or having an attendant whose primary motivation may be ensuring they are not sued at the end of the day.  I would really hate to see what that would do to birth in this country.

After her practice closed, Peggy took a position as a staff midwife at a hospital, and it was actually really, really sad to see how different birth was there.  I am not ashamed to say I got a little misty eyed at all that she, and all her potential home birthing clients, lost.

Peggy includes an Epilogue on the situation of birth in the United States at the end of the book, and I agree with much of her sentiment.  In addition, she includes some Appendices--one is just a short list of advice and things she's learned throughout her career, another is a list of supplies for the home birth midwife, there is a recipe for caramels (mmmmm), as well as statistics on the safety of midwives, and on and on.

Overall, this book was excellent--easy to read, and at the same time, extremely thought provoking.  A definite must read.

**As an aside, the paramedics in this story reminded me of the ones who transported me to the hospital during E's birth.  They weren't rude like the ones in the book, but they were definitely moving sooooooo slowly, as if nothing were emergent.  Luckily, nothing was, but if I had been ruptured, we would have been in a world of hurt.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Butcher's Broom and White Oak Bark

Remember those varicosities I mentioned here?  Well, B has suggested a preventative treatment regime of Butcher's Broom and White Oak Bark, so about a week ago I ordered some off Amazon.  I knew I would have to order the White Oak Bark offline because B told me that she couldn't find any locally, but I thought I would be able to find the Butcher's Broom.  I did--but it was in capsule form, and B told me the liquid tincture would be better if I could swing it, so I just ordered both offline.

I have to admit, I'm a little scared to try them, mainly because I'm scared the taste will trigger my gag (read: vomit) reflex much like the Passionflower tincture I took in my last tri with E did.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that B advised me to get the capsules of Passionflower, but I couldn't find it, so I just got the liquid.  Never again. If I have to walk to the ends of the Earth to find it in capsules, I will.  The only way I could choke it down was in a mixture with OJ and a couple of my other tinctures, holding my breath, trying not to breathe and just guzzling it.  I am really going to be trying to limit my juice intake with T, so I would rather not get in the habit of taking these tinctures with juice if I can help it.

So, anyway, I will be starting this in the near future, as soon as I work up the courage to slip them in my water.  Much like my next birth, I think my biggest challenge here will be overcoming myself and my own fears (in this case, of it tasting disgusting) and just doing it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

On WordPress now...

After Blogger ate my last post, and hearing all of the issues people are having with it, I decided to back up my blog on wordpress. I may start posting there FT, as I have enough emotional work to do before we are pregnant again, and it would really test my new positive attitude if I lost all my posts. So if this blog looks inactive for awhile, have no fear! Join me here!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On courage....

A couple of days ago, I briefly mentioned how lucky I actually am to be counted amongst the group of women who have given birth to their children by cesarean and the strength I see in so many of us.  A new friend, M, shared a blog post with me that says so much more eloquently than I did just what it means to me to be a cesarean mom, and how I feel about the many other women who stand beside me having birthed their children this way.

As much strength and courage as it takes me to decide to try for a vaginal birth for T, I recognize the same qualities in women who choose cesarean births for their future children.  Neither decision is easy or, I'm sure, is made lightly, and I have such compassion for any woman who has to make the difficult choice.  There really is no right or wrong--this issue simply cannot be made black and white and all I hope is that whatever decision a woman makes, she has loving support and gentle understanding.

And M, I'm so happy you're my friend and I am doubly happy that you are on the journey to becoming a midwife.  I wonder if your practice will bring you many VBAC moms--from the sensitivity, compassion and empathy you have displayed towards me, I can't help but think you would be such a blessing in the lives of many of us in the future.

Welcome to the World, Baby B....

Last night, I had the honor and privilege of virtually attending my dear friend M's home birth.  We met through K & B on facebook when I was still pregnant with E.  She was drawn to my sparkling wit and dry sense of humor and I loved that she was so (naturally) positive, upbeat and a genuinely nice person.

She decided to live tweet her birth and last night--well actually this morning--at 4:11 AM, her beautiful baby boy was born.  I was so blessed to follow along with her as she worked so hard to bring her baby into this world.  This was her first home birth--her first two children were born in the hospital with what she described to me as the "typical interventions" such as Pitocin, an epidural, etc.  Her third son was born in a freestanding birth center--I've seen pictures from that birth and the story, while not yet complete, is powerful and moving.  I can't wait to read the story of this latest addition's birth, although I felt like I was right there alongside her the whole time.  There was joking and laughter as well as encouragement, support and reverence for the sacred experience of birthing a baby.  It was really a beautiful thing for me.  I thought I would be exhausted after staying up all night, but I think I'm virtually riding her birth high--I'm not tired at all!

I'm so glad that I'm building a community of women for whom birth is normal, natural and who are so willing to openly share their experiences with me.  It is going to do me a world of good to continue to hear about and witness these kinds of births.  It is always so amazing to me that so many women do something everyday that is, really, so ordinary but at the same time always life changing, empowering, sacred and truly extraordinary.   And it's something that I can (probably) do too.

A & E with M's daughter K

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moving Forward

Yesterday's post got me some really great feedback, both on the blog comments and via friends on facebook.  You know, even though I never thought I would be one of "those" cesarean moms, I find myself often proud and honored to be counted amongst them.  There is such strength and courage in so many of us--regardless of the choices we make for our subsequent birth(s), it takes cojones to choose one way or the other, knowing there are risks to either choice, knowing others may judge us whichever decision we make, wondering if we can actually overcome ourselves and have the greatest birth possible.  There is a lot of emotional....stuff, for lack of a better word, that goes along with being a VBAC mom.  I'm so lucky that I've connected with so many who have been right where I am and who can provide emotional support and encouragement along this journey.

I particularly loved L's comment about putting things in "balloons" and letting them go.  That really resonated with me, and I think I can tie it into the work I'm going to have to do on my tigers before we are pregnant again.  What I was thinking of doing is finding a really nice box--it doesn't have to be exorbitantly expensive or fancy, but it does need to be special in some way--in which I can place all these things I'm confronting and working through before our next birth.  Maybe I'll even get one with a tiger on it and call it my "Tiger Box." Too much? Eh, we'll see.  But I think that's a really great place to start.  I already know two things I need to put in there--rupture and placental complications--once I've confronted them and  done some work on them.  I wonder if I should leave them in there once I've sat with them awhile and felt like I've worked through them or if I should allow myself to (literally and figuratively) open up the box again if ever and whenever I feel the anxiety or doubt regarding these things creeping up again.  I guess I can decide that later on down the road, but for now, I'm just glad to have something really constructive and concrete to get to work on.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thinking Too Much?

When E's birth story was published on the ICAN blog, I was still on my post-birth, amazing experience cloud nine. I am still riding that wave, but I find that, the further away from the birth I get, the more I am analyzing it, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Someone posted a comment on the story that, at the time, I balked at, but now, I think I'm beginning to understand a little more.  The text of the comment is below:

Thank you for sharing your story.  I too am a CBAC mom, although I did eventually go on to have VBACs.  Your feelings about your CBAC will ebb and flow, and will vary a lot over time, even when you have had a relatively positive experience.  But it's good when you can see the positive aspects of your experience and give yourself credit for the very hard work you did towards birth and during labor.  That helps so much with the healing.
Blessings on you, and thank you for sharing your story.  It's so important to hear CBAC stories too.

I still am uncomfortable with some of the tone--although I am sure that was unintentional--of certain parts of the comment (and I am pretty sure this comment was left by a woman whose blog I really enjoy, so I am sure she didn't mean it in anything other than a supportive and positive way), but in particular, the bit about my feelings about the CBAC evolving has been on my mind a lot lately.

I have been noticing the more I think back on the birth, the more I wonder "what if?"  I'm not sure this is a bad thing--after all, E's birth did teach me so much about which sensations, while incomparable and sometimes painful, are normal to experience during a labor.  It is a pretty unique position to be in, essentially a first time mom with regards to laboring, but to also have a scar to consider.  I'm not entirely sure it's a good thing either, though.  I worry that I'm spending too much time thinking about things I would have done differently if I could go back and do it all over again, and I worry that if I over-analyze it too much, I will wind up staying in my head about the birth experience, which is exactly where I don't need to be for next time.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I could have just rocked my hips when B told me to?  Or what if I hadn't gotten out of the water? Or what if my mattress wasn't so soft and I was able to get on the bed and labor after getting out of the tub?  Or what if my baby weren't so big? What if I could have just gotten on top of the contractions for a second? And what if, when we got to the hospital, the questionable heart tones the doctor noted as the reason for the cesarean were just the normal decels a baby experiences during contractions, but he was being overly cautious as they tend to be with VBAC moms? What if I could have just gotten an epidural--would I have been able to calm down, continue laboring, and maybe have VBACd E?

I don't think wondering about all of these things takes away from the fact that I had a wonderfully transformative, empowering birth experience and a very positive CBAC.  I think it's probably pretty normal and natural for me to wrestle with these things the further out from the birth I get--of course, it's easy to think back and forget what I was feeling in the exact moments when I made certain decisions during the birth.  But I also wonder at what point I need to just accept everything that happened, take it as a learning experience, and stop questioning myself.

To be honest, I am scared that I will get to that place in labor again where I will panic, beg to transport and be sectioned again simply because I can't calm down and think clearly.  As I am sure many of you know, it is really hard to make rational decisions when you are in the throes of labor.  I have been toying with the idea of planning a home birth but remaining open to the possibility of transporting--preferably without the ambulance and fire truck thankyouverymuch--for pain relief.  I wonder if I have it in the back of my head that a non-emergent transport is OK, I may not be as likely to panic. And, perhaps, if I have a transport plan in place that includes pain relief as soon as possible upon arrival, things won't be as rushed if/when we do transport and I can (barring a true emergency) stop and consider all my options and make a choice that I won't look back upon months later and doubt.  Or maybe just knowing that I can transport, get pain relief and refuse a cesarean will be enough to allow me to relax enough to birth my baby at home.

Or maybe some level of analysis will come into play regardless of what kind of birth I end up with, I just don't know.  Do you find yourself analyzing your birth(s) be it cesarean or vaginal? RCS or VBAC?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Committed to Temping

I have decided to recommit to temping. My chart is such a sad sack of underinformation and it is really starting to bother me.  Whenever I open up my chart link, directly under the one for this (never ending) cycle is the chart from the month I got pregnant with E.  It is so pretty and full of temps, including temps that are connected by a green line after my BFP. Swoon. I can't wait to have a chart like that again!  So I've set a daily alarm clock for 6:30 AM and I am going to temp then (or a little earlier if E wakes up before then and I have had at least 3 hours of sleep), no questions asked.  Despite the fact that I resolved to do this yesterday, and my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning and I did not, in fact, temp, I will be doing it from now on.  I think I get a pass on today since it's Mother's Day anyway.

I really liked knowing my exact guess date (contradiction much?), even though I went postdates, with E.  I would like to get only one u/s next time, if at all possible, so I would like to avoid even an early dating one. Plus, it's kind of cool being so connected with your body that you know when your baby's guess date will be without technological interventions. So, tonight, as I struggle with the insomnia that seems to have set in for no good reason at all, I will promise myself that I will take the 5 seconds it takes to roll over and stick the thermometer in the vag as soon as my alarm goes off.

Another resolution I have made (that I don't necessarily want to devote an entire post to) is to start telling people straight away when they say or do something that I find offensive or irritating.  I often find myself in a situation in which something happens that I don't like or appreciate--particularly regarding people correcting my kids or being rude to them--and I don't say anything because a) I am so taken aback at the audacity of some people and b) I am generally not confrontational, unless pushed to my limit (and my limit with regards to things affecting my kids is pretty low, I will admit). But it's gotten to that point that I know I am going to have to speak up because when I don't, it just keeps niggling at me and I kick myself for days afterwards for not saying something. That is no bueno for my new positive attitude.  So, from now on, if someone--especially those that don't know or care about my kid--correct him or do something rude, I am going to speak up immediately.
Sheesh.  I wish more people had good home training so I wouldn't have to be put in this awkward situation.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

ICAN meeting

Today's topic was supposed to be how to prevent a cesarean, which we spent a little time discussing, but we also talked a lot about individual experiences with our cesarean births, pain management during labor, choices of where to give birth, breech babies, etc.  Come to think of it, all of these kind of tie into preventing a cesarean, since decisions regarding these things can influence whether or not you end up with a cesarean.

K was there this week, too, and it looks like she might start coming to meetings more often, which would make me so happy. I need my fix of her on a regular basis, not just when I'm pregnant.  A mama we met at the walk on Thursday also came.  I had overheard her talking with a doula about her first birth, which was a cesarean, and since I can hear that word from a mile away, I injected myself into the conversation and asked her if she knew about ICAN.  She didn't, so B and I talked with her a little about it and told her about the meeting today.  I think she really enjoyed it and I expect she will come back.

These meetings are like manna from heaven to me--I love them so much. The two hours just fly by and even though A was a little bit of a handful during this month's meeting, I really enjoyed it.  Next time, I'm just leaving the play tunnel at home.  And maybe A too. Just kidding, K won't let me do that.  I got some ICAN brochures and business cards and I am going to keep those in my diaper bag so I can have them to give out if a situation comes up like it did at the walk when I meet a c/s mom who would be interested in the group.

On a side, but sort of related note, I really want my period to come.  Yet again, I'm dealing with hypersensitivity, a little bit of the sads, and general grouchiness.  It started towards the end of the meeting and got worse when I came home and found J trying to wash comforters in the washing machine.  That's right--queen sized comforters in a standard sized washer. I'm a little more tired than usual today and have the same symptoms I usually get right before AF, but this has happened before, so I'm not getting my hopes up.  I'm just going to go drown myself in the flower essence K and B recommended to me when my attitude was less than stellar during my pregnancy with E and hope for the best.

Friday, May 6, 2011

ICAN Meeting Tomorrow!

It's that time again! I look forward to the first Saturday of every month with the same amount of anticipation that I do our next pregnancy.  Ok, maybe a little less most Saturdays, but this Saturday I am just as excited because K is coming!!!! I haven't seen her in a week, maybe two?  Ok, ok, not a long time, but we are bonded, darnit!  And of course, B will be there (she's the chapter leader, by the way).

Meet us there:
May 7th
10:30 AM
Carver Library, 1161 Angelina Street
Austin, TX 78722

Thursday, May 5, 2011

International Day of the Midwife

Today was International Day of the Midwife and here in Austin, a group of us got together to walk around Town Lake with signs and spread the word about midwives, while trying to highlight the role midwives can play in improving maternal outcomes.  We had so much fun! I used the new RunKeeper app on my new iPhone (Tata Sprint, hello Verizon!!) and tracked most of the walk, so by the time we were finished, I realized I had gotten today's workout in.  I got to spend time with B and her amazing kids, which is always a delight.  I also got to see J, who I adore.  She was my PP doula with A, an apprentice midwife with E, and I kind of think it would be cool if she attended my birth with T.  I can't believe she has been a part of both my kids' lives from so early on.  I absolutely love her and know she is going to make a wonderful midwife.  In the meantime, anyone reading this in the Austin/San Antonio/Wimberley/etc etc (contact her for the etc :) area who is looking for the queen of all the doulas, she is it! I can't say enough wonderful things about her.

After the walk, I went to lunch with B and her two kids at this local 100% vegetarian restaurant.  Me and B chatted, E tried to nurse her, you know, same old, same old.  I love that I am getting to spend so much time bonding with my midwives before our next pregnancy.  I was bonded to them before E's birth, but now it's getting to be like super glue.  Which is kind of a good thing, because you really want someone who knows and loves you by your side when you are going through something as intense as an HBA2C.

Anyway, overall a great day...workout done early, kids napping, and I get to blog and shop for herbal remedies for my varicosities in silence.  Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!!

Me, E, A and B's son S

A & S (and me displaying my new love of photoshop on the iPhone)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Farewell, Fanatics....

When I first got involved in the natural birth community and particularly VBACtivism, I sought out, of course, birth sites and forums that were supportive of VBAC as well as being supportive of a woman's right (obligation?) to make informed choices regarding her birth plans.  Some of these places are really great and, really, the only places I am likely to come across women who are planning or have had H/VBAMC.  Have I mentioned I collect these kinds of friends for my facebook? I plan to have an arsenal of women who have BTDT or BTT(ried)T when it is time for T's birth.  These sites also tend to attract a lot of people who believe in drug/intervention free births, which is really refreshing in a world where the vast majority of the messages women receive about birth is that it is unbearably painful and they need medical interventions in order to have their babies.

But something I've noticed is that a lot of the most vocal people on these sites tend to do I say this nicely?  Fanatical.  I will admit that I am probably more on the conservative side of the home/natural birthing community (is that possible going for a HBA2C?)--I absolutely will have an ultrasound to make sure there are no placenta placement issues or issues with the baby that mean s/he needs to be born in a hospital, I allow use of the doppler, I will attempt to encourage my labor naturally, I will not go past 42 weeks, I am becoming more open to the possibility of considering a hospital transport for pain relief (more on that later), etc etc.  These are informed choices I am making for myself, but it seems like if someone makes a choice that goes against a "100% believe in your body, don't ever interfere with pregnancy/birth under any circumstances" attitude, the fanatics come out in full force raging against the "man" who made women somehow doubt their internal birthing warrior.  And it can get downright outrageous sometimes.  I think for my own peace of mind, the same way I am under midwife's orders to not read any negative birth stories, I am also going to have to steer clear of those on the most extreme sides.  It really does me no good to be on these sites anyway, because it was getting to a point where I was calling people out on some of the more outrageous claims they were making and that just makes me look argumentative, and plus, it's slightly obnoxious (but so is making absolutely outrageous claims about birth...I mean ones even Michel Odent wouldn't cosign).

So, I am refocusing (it seems like I do this a lot, right? Oh well....) myself and my energies on maintaining balance and a healthy perspective on the whole thing--after all, it's birth and even if you want to, it's pretty hard to control, right?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Donation Station

Part of the new me is working really hard to share knowledge without being overbearing or judgmental and also working hard to just let it go after I've shared what I've learned over the course of my childbearing journey.  But this is leaving me feeling a little bit....I don't know the word, but it just isn't "enough" for me.  So, I've decided that I'm going to take all the energy I would usually spend worrying, getting worked up and frustrated and put it towards something positive.  To that end, I have decided to make a donation to ICAN any time someone I know is electively induced.  Obviously, I chose induction specifically because this is what led to my first cesarean and it is my own personal hot button issue. I'm hoping this will help me refocus my energies and stay positive, hopeful and encouraged and I will continue to be able to share what knowledge I have without being pushy or judgy, which of course, no one likes.

It should be noted that I absolutely and unabashedly plan to naturally encourage labor earlier rather than later with T, which I know some people would also disagree with.  Please feel free to make your own donation to ICAN in the next couple years when you read about me stimulating my nipples, having lots of sex and working with essential oils to encourage my baby to come out sooner than 41+ weeks.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Auntie Flo, was that you?

I'm beginning to have serious doubts that the couple days of bleeding I had starting on March 22 was, in fact, the return of my period.  I am now on like CD 1203983187243 with no bleeding since the 22nd.  Granted, I suck at temping.  It is so hard to be motivated to wake at 6:30 AM when your baby lets you sleep (also, having a baby this easy does not help stave off the desire to have eleventy hundred awesome kids just like him and his big brother).

I have no idea what to expect as far as cycle length when breastfeeding.  I have gone through periods of time where, based on my mood, I expected my period to show any day, but nada!! This is such a cruel and unusual tease.  I am sticking to my (renewed) vow of abstinence until 6 months PP, so there is definitely no risk of pregnancy and I randomly take my OPKs and haven't caught an O(vulation) at all, so I figured I was on the other side of O.  But, maybe not?  I am just learning to check my cervix....I know for sure I have found it, but I am not nearly skilled enough to interpret any fertility signs by feel.  How much do you think K and B would charge me for weekly cervical exams? I could go in on prenatal day---except they would be like preprepreprenatals for me.

So is this normal? Can I have had a period back in March and just be having a super long cycle? Maybe the bleeding was anovulatory?  Or maybe it was residual lochia?  That was almost 3 months PP and I had long since stopped having bleeding after the birth, so that is why I assumed it was my period.

As an aside, I just finished Baby Catcher (loved it! can't wait to blog it!!) and started up Birth Matters in the past couple days.  There is this awesome quote in Birth Matters that I want to share here and now:

"It's actually quite gratifying to observe a woman with an MD, a JD, or a PhD hunker down and find her natural woman and realize she knows how to give birth as well as any orangutan on the planet.  It's awesome."

Damn, Ina, tell it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Melissa's Birth of Max

Today, I am going to share what has become one of my absolute most favorite birth stories.  Melissa was a mother in my due month club on Mothering.  Her son was born at 43 weeks in the most unexpected way--but the way he absolutely needed to be born.  His mother's wisdom, grace and courage during, and after, his birthing time is a pretty amazing thing to behold.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do.

43 weeks...  Birth story.

My baby was due on the 30th of Dec 2010.  Of course I had told everyone that he was due on New Year's Eve, so everyone in town knew.   By mid Jan I had stopped going out and my husband screened my calls.  Even then, he lost it one day when my otherwise caring friend started telling him about how much danger our baby was in because we were not inducing.  I had done all the tests, baby was fine, my mother was known for very long pregnancies, and I was in great health so we were trying not to worry.  But the social pressure did not help with what felt like Groundhog Day, almost every night for 6 weeks (we were originally worried I would go 3 weeks early!) I had been getting practice contractions, and then every morning I would wake up again, still pregnant.  It was a lesson in something more than just patience I assure you. 

On the 18th I told my husband Ron that we were having a sunrise baby and that was that.  I did not allow myself to think otherwise.  That evening we went for our daily walk, a beautiful stroll through the countryside.  The sunset was stunning and we felt great peace and joy.  I started noticing some pressure cramps, they were different to other things that I had felt.  And they were rhythmic, happening every 5 minutes or so.  They were not uncomfortable, but we were excited.  We went home and I was busy writing up some natural birth notes (so to help myself keep defending natural birth!) when Ron came to me at about 10pm and said that we should get our rest as it looked like it could be a big night.  I stood up.  I felt a rush of fluid down my legs.  Ron noticed the look on my face. "I think my waters have broken" I said and we exchanged looks of excitement.  He looked down.  That was the moment everything changed.  "It is blood" he said.  I looked down, and at my feet a dark, accusing pool of blood was forming.  My heart smashed into the ground alongside it and I ran to the bathroom, just 10 feet away, leaving a trail of fast blood over the carpet and a shocking red trail splashed over the white tiles.  My pants were drenched in seconds, I just stepped out of them and stood over the toilet, blood gushing.  My heart was screeching "You've lost the baby!  OH MY GOD YOU HAVE LOST THE BABY! Everyone was right, you were wrong!!! You lost the baby!" Hysteria quickly rose and threatened to engulf me.  I knew suddenly that I had to be very, very calm. 

Within minutes we had called my midwife and were out the door.  I had some things in the car in case we had a hospital birth, but everything else was on a list.  It would have taken me 5 minutes to gather it all.  I never expected that I would not even have that time.  I ran out of the house, no pants on, just a few towels swathed between my legs.  The bleeding lessened when I was sitting in the car thankfully.  We called an ambulance to meet us at the next town, about 45 minutes away, halfway to the hospital.  With that amount of bleeding we were not sure what would happen to me, or what Ron would do about it if he were driving.  The ambulance met us on the main street of this little town in the middle of the night.  I was bundled out of the car into the ambulance.  I still did not have any pants but of course that did not matter any more. 

The ambulance ladies were wonderful.  They could not find a heartbeat in the vehicle but were wonderful at reassuring me that everything was fine.  They said they would all stay with me until we heard the baby's heart beat.

I was wheeled into the hospital. My midwife was there, and here assistant and the other late night staff.  They seemed to want to fuss and do things like take my blood pressure.  "Get the doppler!  Get the doppler!" I kept screeching, the irony of which was not lost on me as I had avoided the thing during my whole pregnancy, making my midwife use the pinard horn instead.  Mercifully the doppler was produced.  The gel was on my tummy.  It started to roll around, looking, looking.  Time seemed to freeze.  No one was breathing.  That awful dark hysteria that I had managed to suppress earlier started thrashing about from its prison walls, long tendrils ready to escape and engulf me forever.  "Oh please no...  please not this, not this..." Silence........

Then, "Thump thump.  Thump thump"  I have never heard such a beautiful sound.  The terror and horror suddenly dissolved and I cried for joy.  My tears were not the only ones in the room. 

It was late at night and after an ultrasound the OB said he would deal with us the next day.  He could not find a cause for the bleeding or the fist sized clot that fell out of me.  He needed to do another ultrasound with a full bladder as he could not see all of my placenta.  We were given a room and told to rest.  Of course, this is difficult in a hospital but we managed a little fitful sleep.

The next day was intense.  The nurses kept wanting to monitor me, they would get their "20 minutes only," but there would be some bump at the end and they would want to do it again and again.  I started to stress terribly.  Here I was in an environment that I hated and feared.  I knew my baby was alive, but I felt powerless to deliver it myself, and powerless to protect it from this horrible invasive medical world that I usually ran from.  Another ultrasound was scheduled for the afternoon so I decided that Ron should go home and grab our things.  It was a bad decision as as soon as he and my midwife were gone the other nurses started to descend on me.  They really did deliberately wait until my midwife had gone, an independent who would defend a woman's personal choice about her birth.  One nurse came in demanding constant monitoring.  As she needed a 20 minute activity pattern I asked if she could come back later as the baby was asleep now and I needed to get some rest before the afternoon tests.  She stormed out.  The OB from the night before came in.  He started by playing good cop and asked what my problem was with the monitoring.  Let's say he came from a place where women are not expected to question men.  Quickly he turned into bad cop.  I was polite, I always am, but I knew what I thought and explained to him my concerns and the studies that I had read to support this.  He was extremely patronising and rattled on for a while including such statements as "you may have read some studies, but you have not been in medicine for 17 years as I have and you could not possibly understand the metascience of it all..."  By that time I was so overtired and overwrought that all I could do was repeat my request to have the machine hooked up, and when the baby started moving I would turn it on myself and get the 20 minutes of activity, I could see no reason just to leave the thing on for no reason....  He agreed then, and strode out. 

Finally my midwife and husband were back, apparently the 3 OBs had had a disagreement about who would NOT get me as their patient.  Fortunately the one who agreed to take me was a sweet and gentle man.  He did the next ultrasound and found that I had a partial placenta previa, a kidney shaped placenta which is why it would have been missed from earlier tests.  However I could still try for a vaginal birth if I wanted to. I was given some choices: we could start a prostaglandin gel induction, but if there was any more bleeding, it would be a general anaesthetic  and an immediate emergency csection.  Or I could just sign up for the csection now; I would get a spinal and be conscious for the whole thing.  I was scared of the general, worried about its effect on the baby and breastfeeding.  There would go skin to skin and any memory of the birth.  And I had seen all that blood.  My husband and I looked at each other and thought the same thing.  If there were that much blood from such mild contractions, what would serious contractions do?  We were leaning toward the csection.  However the OB came in, gel in hand, helpful nurses in tow.  I was going to say wait...I think I should sign up...   But he busied himself and gave me an internal exam.  "The baby still has not descended," he announced. He said our chances of a successful induction were almost nil.  He would recommend the csection...  He would go and get the operating team ready....  I nodded, numb, resigned, exhausted...

When we were alone in our room, tears flowed.  I just could not believe that it had come to this.  All the healthy food, exercise, positive thinking and research had not worked.  I could not believe that I was here, unable to give birth myself, unable to protect my little one from interventions, unable to give him or her the beautiful dreamy homebirth and wonderful start to life.  I could not believe that I needed medical help.  I had been so excited to experience birth, the strength, the intensity, the wonder of it all.  Now I was just terrified that I was about to have an operation.  All I could do was cry.  I tried to be brave but couldn't.  I could just cry.  

Finally I gathered myself and rewrote my birth plan.  Gone were all the lovely ideas.  I scribbled them out and condensed it to 3 on the back of the paper.  I wanted immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping and to find out the sex myself.  My midwife took my request to the OB and returned.  Rejected.  Two of them. I could have the baby for skin to skin after a 2 minute checkup though and  I could find out the sex myself.  So I would get one thing.  It was down to one.        

Ok, so catheterised, shaved and gowned it was time. Of course, the first thing the anaesthetist said as he entered the theatre was "Ok, so we are delivering a baby boy here today!" My midwife did not miss a beat and corrected him "Oh no, we don't know what the sex of the baby is yet..."  But I knew it was a boy in my heart so I was not surprised, although I was a little amused.  That irony thing again.   

My husband was grey.  He usually has the most beautiful olive skin but he had taken on a grey green pallor.  He told me later that when I had started haemorrhaging he thought instantly that we had lost the baby.  Ok, he decided, he would deal with that.  But he could not bear to lose me and the night before he thought that he might.  We stared at each other and tried to be as comforting to the other as we could.  The beautiful thing about the operation was gazing into his eyes as we talked, chatted and tried to joke, trying to make the best of the situation that we could.   Finally the baby was delivered.  There was no crying.  The nurses were all chatty.  After 5 minutes I called out "your 2 minutes have passed!  Is there a problem?...."  Well there had been, but they reassured me that it would not be much longer.... 

Finally the most beautiful little boy was put on my chest.  He had dark eyes and and an amazing mop of hair.  I had heard that newborn babies could be ugly but he was beautiful, such dark eyes, such wise eyes.  He started to feed right away and I was so happy.   My husband looked dazed and amazed and was holding so tenderly to me.    

We were taken back to our room and my midwife helped Ron to bathe him, the poor little guy had gone through a lot and was covered with blood and goop and meconium.  He relaxed so beautifully when he was put in the water, it was a wonderful thing to see.

We started to feel happy.  He slept on my chest that night and was not separated from me at all.  Ron had to leave that night but was back the next day.  I stayed in the hospital for 4 days, they wanted to keep me there due to all the bleeding.  It was a lovely hospital, I had a room with ocean views and all the nurses were sweet. That helped a lot with the healing.  On one hand I was incredibly in love with this amazing little person, and on the other hand I was still in shock from the drama of it all.  That shock was felt more when I came home, I alternated between happiness for my little boy, and tears.  Lots more tears.  I was so disappointed that I had not had a natural birth. I was sad for myself and for my baby.   In some ways it was like training for a marathon, I had studies hypnobabies and everything else that I thought might help, I was so ready for the challenge of the race, but then, suddenly, it was cancelled.  I was handed my trophy and told to go home.  I expected to become a mother through this incredible rite of passage, a challenge that would leave me feeling powerful and victorious.  Instead I felt weak and in pain and broken.  

For a long time I could not look at the photos of the operation.  I could not read other people's natural birth stories.  To me birth was this sacred special thing, kind of like a wedding day.  I told myself it was ok to feel disappointed that this special day had not turned out.  I was also in shock, I really had believed that everything was fine, that birth really was natural, normal, healthy and safe.  But mine was not. I was getting a reality check.  I needed medical intervention and I knew intellectually I was lucky that I got it.  But emotions are funny things and I was all mixed up. 

I found out later that the cord had been wrapped around Max's neck three times, in such a way that it would have knotted and killed him had I managed to birth vaginally.  Very rare, said my gentle obstetrician, but he is thankful that I bled because then we were able to save the baby.  We would not have known otherwise. Max was shocked by the delivery  and had an agpar score of 2 but he quickly recovered. Other than that, he did not look overcooked, his skin was beautiful even though there was not a trace of vernix left.  My placenta was patchy, but not bad. He was 20 days overdue if you calculate from ovulation date, or 23 days if you calculate from the my last menstrual period. 

I was lucky.  It is lucky that I did not consent to an induction, it is lucky that I haemorrhaged, it is lucky that help was there when I needed it.  But most of all, we were lucky to have a beautiful, live baby boy.  And lucky to have a live mama.  I was terrified by all the things that almost went wrong, but they didn't.  I was lucky.  It took a little while for all of this to catch up to my head, but the smiles of my beautiful baby helped.  I am so deeply, powerfully and  overwhelmingly in love with him.  Love has become the rite that has transformed me into a mother. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Comment for J on the last post...

For some reason, I can't comment back to you, J, on the last post, so I'm just going to post it here as an entry :)

J, I am one of those people who think the best place to birth (especially VBAC) is wherever you feel most comfortable. I know HBAC (or even home birth with no previous cesareans) isn't for everyone. I just know for me that if I were to plan a VBAC in Austin, HB is now really my only option, and it was the best option for my first VBAC attempt as well (going post dates, having a larger baby, no labor after water breaking, etc). I think a lot depends on your own previous experiences too.   I might be more inclined to be in a hospital if my first birth were like yours---I can't even imagine how difficult that was for you! Being relaxed is so very important. I think sometimes there gets to be a lot of downing of hospital birth because some people haven't had pleasant experiences. But then there are so many women, like you, who have had great hospital births. And I know I could have a fabulous one too-- -especially if I traveled to Denton to birth with the famous Dr. C :)

I think my only concerns with planning a HB this time are the pain relief thing--deciding I need an epidural and being frightened to transfer and being pressured into a RCS or in the unlikely event of an emergent transport having to go to the hospital in which A was delivered. That would be a nightmare.

And I should note that I actually talked with B a little today about options for next time and she mentioned a couple: 1) Laboring at home until 8 cm or so and transferring to hospital and declining a section.  This is viable, but I feel like if I get all the way to 8, I don't want to be riding in a car and, plus, there wouldn't really be time for an epidural, which would be the only real reason I would want to go to the hospital barring an emergency. But this might make Jason more comfortable. 2) We drive to Denton at the first sign of labor, get a hotel and then deliver with the famous Dr. C. I like that this is an option, but I like the first one better.  

But the one I like the most of all is the one in which I push my baby out at home.  
Note to self: cannotsayuterustearingcannotsayuterustearingcannotsayuterustearing

Friday, April 29, 2011

Man, I needed that...

Yesterday was a really good day for so many reasons, including that I kind of laid bare a lot of things I'm going to have to work through in order to be in a healthy place for our next pregnancy.  I hope I didn't give anyone the impression that I don't want to birth at home---this is actually my greatest wish.  In order to do it, though, I think I'm going to have to really confront those things I discussed yesterday.

I have been reflecting on all of it some more and I think at the core of a lot of my fears is this.  If I plan a home birth in Austin and we end up transporting because I am overwhelmed with the intensity of labor, I will likely be sectioned.  Maybe.  Or maybe the hospital in which I delivered E would be a little more open to "allowing" me to continue laboring--with pain relief--as long as me and baby looked good.  Of course, I know my rights and can refuse to consent to a cesarean.  But I'm just not sure if I would have the strength for a fight (if it came to that) and I wouldn't really want to put K and B in an awkward position with the staff in the L&D ward since they have such a good working relationship with them. On the other hand, if I opt for an out of town hospital birth, I will be in a place where I can get pain relief if I get to a place where I feel it is unmanageable for me.  Obviously, having a natural birth is a priority for me.  But an even higher priority is a vaginal birth.  I would take a VBA2C with an epidural over a repeat cesarean any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  But what if I then choose pain relief when I could have worked through it with other coping techniques simply because I knew the pain relief was available?

I guess it comes down to this.  I don't want to be in a position where I have a RCS simply because I feel that I need pain relief and I opted for a home birth instead of planning an out of town birth.  There.  I said it.

Now, someone, solve this problem for me stat!!! Wait, what's that you say? I have to do this on my own?!?  Well, I did say this was going to suck sometimes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And a couple more things

Man, that blog post felt really good to write. I mean, really good. Sometimes, I feel like we should be 100% committed, fearless and just gung ho about our next birth, but it feels good to be open to all of our feelings and concerns surrounding it.  I forgot a couple more things that I thought I should just throw out there that worry me, just so we are being totally forthcoming here.

In the event of an emergent transport, I live closest to the hospital in which I delivered A.  The hospital which has a VBAC ban, so I can only imagine how I would be treated.  A hospital in which my child was given bottles of formula after being taken off his sugar water IV even though I explicitly said I wanted to breastfeed.  The place where the nurse assigned to A slapped my hand away when I tried to touch him in the nursery because it would be "overstimulating to him."  I really, really don't want to have to go to that hospital under any circumstances.  There is a Days Inn (a little bit ghetto but whatevs) right across the street from the hospital in which I delivered E.  I'm also pretty sure we could find an apartment or house to sublet around there for a month and plan a delivery there.  Does anyone do that?  It would be kind of the same thing we would do if we went to Denton for the delivery.  I just know I cannot go back to the hospital where I delivered A.

I am also really, really concerned about the possibility of another long labor.  Even though it wasn't intense at all until the end, that really did a number mentally on me.

And I am also kind of embarrassed about the whole fire truck/ambulance business.  I most especially don't want that to happen again.  I know my neighbors were curious and even though I know to most people it wouldn't be a big deal, I find that kind of thing pretty embarrassing.

And what if we plan all this out, spend a ton of money either way trying to get a vaginal birth and we end up sectioned again.  Even if I have a great birth, I worry that I will feel like we wasted a lot of resources that could have been used elsewhere.

Some days I feel so ready and anxious to be pregnant again and have another amazing birth experience (and of course, to have another baby....because that's the point of all this, not just birthin' ;), and then others, I feel a little bit scared of the whole thing.  Sometimes I feel afraid of not feeling so amazing after my next birth--like E's birth was such a high that I can't possibly achieve that again.

I really hope I don't have to rename this's a good thing we have a couple more babies inside us.  I really do want my home birth one of these days.

I don't even know what to title this post...

I was trying to think of something clever and catchy to name this post, but I have a feeling it's going to be a muddle of mixed up rambling, so I figure I'll just be honest from the jump.

Last night, Jason and I were talking.  I have been after him to write something for the blog, and he says he is just waiting for an idea, so I thought I would just randomly throw something out there to see if it would fire up some inspiration.  So I asked him if he thought we should have our next birth in a hospital.  There now exists some disagreement as to how the rest of the conversation played out, but how I remember it is  him saying "maybe" because he has some concerns about the varicosities the doctor who delivered E mentioned.  And, to be honest, so do I.  This is going to sound terrible, but I sort of wish he had only mentioned it to my midwives and Jason and I could have been none the wiser.  Because, really, what is it going to affect?  They were there during my entire labor with E and presented no complications--and they supposedly wouldn't unless I ruptured, and the rupture risk is really so, so low.  And the truth of the matter is no one I have talked to besides this doctor has ever really heard of them.  That is not to say they don't exist, but it is just curious.  Maybe they aren't really mentioned because in women who have successful VBACs, they aren't discovered.  Or if a woman opts for a repeat c/s, they aren't disclosed because it isn't really a concern, since the woman isn't laboring.  I just don't know.  It is also curious to me that they didn't cause excessive bleeding when they were cut during E's cesarean.  I wonder if they aren't exactly on the scar line, but near?  Anyway, I think we are going to go for a second opinion about them at some point just to set our minds at ease--I think it's important that we handle this before our next delivery because I don't want any underlying fears coming into play in the heat of the moment.  I think, although I knew in my head that the risk of rupture was infinitesimally small, I hadn't addressed my fears around it before E's delivery and it really came into play when I panicked.  And I still have that fear--the truth of the matter is the most important thing to me is a healthy mom and baby.  And I don't mean that in the way people do when they say it to dismiss a woman's feelings around her birth or her experience.  Of course, obviously, my birth experience matters to me, and I want a vaginal birth more than almost anything else in the world--and I'm willing to do almost anything to get it.  But, in the end, I do want a healthy baby and I want to be healthy.

I also was thinking about it and I don't think I would be opposed to considering a hospital birth for our first VBA2C, especially if it would mean Jason were more comfortable.  But the thing about that is I absolutely would not be able to plan one in Austin.  So, I'm faced with traveling to see the doctor in Denton or one in San Antonio that someone on the ICAN list mentioned, but I know next to nothing about her, except that this person is going on her second VBA2C with this doctor.  And I wonder if I wouldn't be compromising my best chance at a vaginal birth if I did opt for a hospital.  There will be so many more restrictions placed on me--probably continuous fetal monitoring, an IV (or at least a heplock), stuck in bed, etc etc (all of which I would take for a vaginal birth, by the way) and at the first sign of anything unusual, what if they wanted to section me? (And clearly I don't mean something emergent, a clear sign that we had to get the baby out then and there....for that, I would hand them the scalpel myself and tell them to get that baby out as fast as they could)  And then there is the matter of needing K and B at my birth.  I am sure I could hire them as doulas (and maybe monitrices beforehand) for the hospital, but they would obviously be a lot more restricted in what they could tell me to do than they would be as midwives. Plus, they wouldn't catch the baby--and did I mention that I really, really want them to catch one of my babies?

Later in the night, Jason brought up that he thought I might be pressuring myself to have a certain type of birth.  I don't think I am at all, but he mentioned how I told K and B during transition that "I didn't want to do this" and "They made me do it."  Firstly, I don't think you can take anything a woman who has a 15 inch head trying to work its way out of her body says seriously.  But what if he's right? Am I pressuring myself to have this birth at home?  Certainly that would be the only source of pressure.  No one else, as far as I know, would care one way or the other what kind of birth I chose.  I know already that K and B would support whatever choice I made and be just as happy for me either way and Jason just wants his wife and baby to be healthy.  So maybe I need to do some reflecting and see if I am really putting too much pressure on myself--no matter what kind of birth we ended up having, I think this could really affect my experience in a negative way if I get too caught up in a specific manner of birth.

There is also the issue of facing the very real possibility that I may have another cesarean.  I know an empowering CBAC is a possibility....I can have a great cesarean birth for sure.  But, if I have another cesarean, I would want it to be just like E's as far as the anesthesia goes.  I know a lot of women wouldn't want it, but I actually preferred the general anesthesia to the spinal I had with A.  That may just be because a resident placed mine with A's in the wrong place and I felt like I wasn't breathing the entire time, which was extremely difficult.  With the GA, it was like going to sleep and waking up after a night's rest.  I would really prefer to do it that way again, but unless it was an emergency c/s, I am sure I couldn't request that.

And I am also going to need to get in a place where I can embrace the....physicality of birth.  I hesitate to say pain because I think it does a great disservice to women when people only focus on the pain that accompanies labor and delivery.  Sure, pain is a part of it, but labor is hard, full body work. I think describing it as "physical" is much more accurate. It takes so much out of you physically, mentally and emotionally.  Going into E's birth, I was kind of naive, expecting it to be a challenging experience, but the sensations I experienced are like nothing I ever have before or I'm sure I will after outside of another labor and delivery.  And to be honest, I am so scared that I will get to that place again--so close to pushing my baby out and just freak out and either ask to be transported or let my fear of rupture take over.  I am hoping that, having now experienced a labor and knowing what normal sensations are, I won't have that issue. And I'm really wanting to try to hand that over to K and B, let them do their jobs as midwives and keep me safe.  But I'm just not sure if I'm at that point yet--and I'm not sure how to get there.

OK, so apparently I have a crap ton more work to do than I thought. Awesome.  I guess it's good, then, that I'm starting now, 12 months + before we are going to be pregnant again.  This is pretty daunting, but I have a feeling going through this next pregnancy and delivery will bring more personal growth than I could even imagine.

But I'm still going to secretly hope that the baby just falls out of me around 38 weeks without me even noticing.....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Accidentally on Purpose

Ok, guys, I have to let you in on a dirty little secret.  I'm getting healthy. And I don't just mean in a losing weight sort of way, although that is a nice by product of it.

It was kind of accidental, kind of on purpose, but all I know is I'm having a hard time recognizing the girl whose fridge contains no diet coke, sugar free treats and is never without the fixings for a green smoothie.  And I am now working out 4-5 times a week instead of barely making 3 days (at least for the past couple of weeks).  I'm not going to pretend I am 100% reformed, but I have come a long way in a short time.  I even have seriously cut down on juice after I looked on the bottle of grape juice and saw that one serving contained something like 36 grams of sugar.  I read that and saw "11 lb+, 15 in + head baby" and put it right back.  I'm now mostly doing the fruits themselves because they have a lot of fiber and not just straight sugar.  I also do the ground flaxseed in my smoothie and let's just say, I'm as regular as I have been in my life....I'm talking 2-3 times per day regular.  Yeah.  It is so money.

This is what happens when you get midwives in your life.  You think you're hiring them to help you get a baby born, but next thing you know you're trying to do things like eat better and exercise.  Don't say I never warned you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Massage Envy

I had my Mayan Abdominal Massage yesterday and it was really good. The therapist was a former midwife and, well, everyone knows how I feel about midwives.  I'm beginning to think that all midwives--or maybe just the good ones--are soul seers.  Before the massage, we spent a little time talking about my labor and especially the sensation I experienced that caused me to tell K that my uterus was tearing.  In case you were wondering, "tearing" is a four letter word in an HBAC.  You just bought yourself a hospital transfer with that one. But I digress....

I filled out an intake form beforehand that covered my medical history as well as some more emotional issues.  One of the questions was about my fear level on a scale of 1-10.  I gave myself a 6.  Look, I'm going to keep it real with everyone here.  I tend to worry--not a little, but a lot.  I'm a person who has a persistent and very active fear of my kids drowning in an ocean or some other deep natural body of water.  Did I mention we live in Austin, TX?!?  But that doesn't stop me from worrying about it.  I think I need therapy.

Anyway, I'm digressing again.  So, M asked me questions about my labor, the moment when I freaked and what exactly I felt, and then asked me if I tended to be a person who worries a lot.  I think she used the word "hypochondriac" in one of her questions.  I prefer to think of myself as having a healthy respect for Western medicine.  Says the girl who is now massaging my scar tissue away and considering acupuncture to maintain healthy blood pressures.  But anyway, yeah, I have fear, I'm not going to lie.  I'm choosing HBA2C because I think it is the safest choice I could make out of all of my alternatives--my alternatives being a 3rd cesarean or an H/VBA2C.  But that doesn't mean I am burying my head in the sand and pretending that it is risk free--I'm just betting on the fact that the odds are in my favor.  I feel kind of bad because I think I gave her the impression that I might rather choose a hospital birth.  She did tell me if I wasn't comfortable at home, I should birth in a hospital.  I told her that wasn't really an option in Austin hospitals, but I hope I also conveyed that I'm not scared of birthing at home--I would worry if I chose an elective 3rd cesarean as well.  If some decision has risks, I'm going to worry about them regardless.  Again, I think I need therapy.  Maybe K and B will give me preconception counseling.

She asked a little about the varicosities that were discovered and I think she was a bit skeptical.  Not skeptical in a didn't believe me kind of way--wait, isn't that what skeptical means? Give me a break, it's 1AM and I am trying to write this now while the boys sleep.  Anyway, she had just never heard of it, which doesn't surprise me because neither had B until she put out the email on the ICAN list.  She did tell me that generally you shouldn't massage varicosities, and we didn't really massage my scar so much as do some sliding of the abdomen above my pubic bone.

Anyway, so the actual massage.  There was a lot of focus on my entire abdomen as opposed to just focusing on my scar area which was really nice. My stomach was gurgling the entire time and she told me that meant she was doing her job right.  I asked her about the bump on the left side of my scar line and she agreed that it was probably scar tissue.  She also did some work on my back, around the sacrum.  I forgot exactly why, but there was something about some nerve endings and some such.  While we were doing it, I was visualizing my body healing even more, getting stronger, all my organs going back where they are supposed to be and adhesions and scar tissue breaking up.  I think I'm going to do some art here coming up pretty soon.  I will openly admit to having scoffed at that part of Birthing From Within, but the further down this path I'm going, the less crazy it seems.  I think it might do me a lot of good to start visualizing what I would like my reality to be and the art could be a physical manifestation of my visualizations.

We wrapped up a little earlier than the 2 hours we had booked.  I think this is because Jason and E were there thanks to Jason forgetting his wallet and me not wanting him to drive around and possibly get stopped with no ID--you can take the active out of a girl's law license, but you can't....wait, I'm not sure that one works.  Anyway, I think she would have preferred it were just me and her and it will be for our next appointment.  That's right, I'm going back in a month.  And I have homework in the meantime.  Every day, I will have to perform the massage on myself and three times a week I'm doing castor oil packs.  She told me she will be able to tell if I didn't do it and I think I would be in big trouble if I don't--but I will, trust me.  She was small, but I think she could take me.  Just kidding.  I just have this compulsion to do things that are presented as assignments.  Maybe I really do need therapy.

Oh, and she mentioned she does some work that can help with my tendency to worry.  I'm so into that.  She showed me one move that involved holding your thumb with your opposite hand....I think we might need to spend a little more time with that one in the future, but we've got plenty of that.