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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smoothie King

Go ahead and wipe that drool off your chin. Go on, I won't tell anyone....

So, this is my latest obsession since giving up sodas--the green smoothie. Y'all, this drink is so. freaking. delicious,  I can't even begin to describe for you.  I originally heard of these from B who said she and her kids loved them, but at that time, I had this image in my head of midwives picking random weeds, berries and fungi out of the ground and eating them raw, so I was not too interested in getting her recipe.  Then I heard that a lot of people make them with spinach leaves, and without being too graphic, let me just say that my body treats spinach leaves like castor oil.  Yeah.  Out both ends.  It ain't pretty. So, I was super not interested.

Then, I met the love of my vegetable life--kale.  On the day that kale was born, the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true.  So they sprinkled moondust in its leaves and starlight in its stalks of green (Anyone?).  Seriously, I. Love. Kale.  And you can substitute kale, the power vegetable of the universe, for spinach in your green smoothie!  The first recipe I tried called for just a banana, soymilk, kale and some maple syrup.  Hello, maple syrup, reducing sugar intake much?!?!  Plus, I didn't use frozen fruit, despite my to-be-virtual-doula Sarah's urging.  Let's just say that first round wasn't the best thing I've ever tasted and I thought it was going to be a long week (or more) without my friend, Diet Coke.  

Take 2--now I use kale, frozen bananas, blueberries and strawberries, plus about a cup of coconut milk (though I may reduce this to 1/2 a cup, since that yields a pretty big serving) and I have the tastiest, most energizing drink ever!! Every time I take a sip, I picture my cells doing a happy dance, my body getting stronger and my weight dropping (once I kick the aforementioned cupcake addiction...although I haven't had one in almost a week, unintentionally!), which is only getting me closer to my HBA2C.  In a future post, I am going to address my weight loss goals, since my weight is directly tied to my blood pressure and I have to maintain healthy pressures to remain low risk.  These green smoothies are really going to help me lose these last 15-20 pounds which my body seems intent on hanging on to for awhile....although I will say that I am not entirely convinced it is not all in my chesticles.  Milk is heavy!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm seriously considering

Asking my midwives to come up with an "approved reading list" for me.  I think "Pushed" is the opposite of what I should be reading and I'm pretty sure I should go ahead and cancel the hold I put on "Silent Knife."  I just started "Pushed" tonight, read the first chapter, "Arranged Birth," and now I am in a serious funk.  I appreciate the book for what it is--really brilliantly written and tons of fabulous information, but I just don't think I can read it until I am done having kids, or maybe after my (successful) VBA2C.  Like I mentioned before, I have a problem being in my head about these things and I can already tell from the little I read that this book will not be helping me get out of it.  So, I am putting it away and picking up another, yet to be decided, title.  Hello, personal growth much?!?! :)

What If Wednesday

Ok, so I decided I needed a little bit of kitchy (and maybe a kit of bitchy?) for my blog, so I thought of "What If Wednesday."  Look, to be honest, I have a tendency to live in the realms of may bes, might could happens, or should this come to pass, and I know that is totally unhealthy.  What If Wednesday is going to be my little day of the week to sit with some of these thoughts that pop into my head because, while I don't want to dwell on them at all, I also don't want to try to suppress them so they pop up at the most inopportune moment.  Kind of like hemorrhoids, you know, worst. possible. moment. Like when you are getting in the birthing tub and you start to feel so incredibly relaxed and then you realize your butt cheeks are sitting about a half inch off the tub's bottom thanks to that giant hemi you just popped while sitting on the toilet attached to the breast pump.  Wait, was that just me?  Anyway, this will also not be a weekly feature because I could probably come up with 52+ "what ifs" between now and when we are pregnant again, but K & B would probably take away my internet access and that wouldn't be fun for any of us.  Maybe I'll alternate with catchy themes for maybe "weigh in wednesday?" Yeah, slight problem with that--it could easily turn into "where's my will to live wednesday" since my thighs haven't gotten the memo that adipose is not, in fact, the new black.  Yeah, maybe the kitch will just be occasional.

This week's what if was going to be kind of sitting with the idea of never having a vaginal birth, but for some reason I just can't with that right now.  I try, but my brain just won't allow me to go there, so I'm going to have to revisit that one soon.  And, yes, I know eventually I will have to confront it, but I've got time, people....remember my 6 month vow of celibacy? Yeah, got time.

So, this week, I'm going to kind of try to sit with what if I risk out of a home birth, not necessarily vaginal altogether, with T.  You'll notice this blog is named "Road to Home Birth After Multiple Cesareans."  Right now, I'm sitting at 2, which is technically multiple, but so is 3 or 4.  Let's not get carried away here, though.  I'm not just trying to have a whole bunch of babies until I get my dream birth.  I have always envisioned 4 children, so I think we are looking at 2 more chances to get a home birth. So, what if I risk out this time for whatever reason?  The way I see it, I really have 2 choices--UBA2C or go to a hospital.  The only thing is that here in Austin, I will never be able to find an OB who would take on a VBA2C mom, especially with no prior vaginal births.  And while I greatly respect mothers who really research birth and feel comfortable doing it on their own, I am the type who needs a lot of positive reinforcement.  It means a lot to me to hear B say that no, in fact, my small intestines are not going to come spilling out of my ass (that one didn't happen yet, but I thought it and I know she would tell me it wasn't happening) or K promise that I really won't die if I don't have an epidural.  So, that leaves me with a hospital birth and for that, I'll probably have to travel.

Apparently there is this doctor in Denton, Texas, which is probably about 4 hours away from me in Austin, who is like the King of VBAMMMMMMC (that's many, many, many, many, many, many cesareans), including those with special scars, named Dr. Cummings. Remember that VBA2C thread I mentioned a couple days ago?  A mama commented on that thread who had a VBA3C with an inverted T incision with this doctor in 2009.  Yeah, he's pretty legendary in the Texas VBACing world, and I am confident that I could have my best shot at a vaginal birth with him.  But, I have to ask myself am I willing to travel so far for this? I think, sitting here right now, the answer is yes, but there are a lot of logistics to consider as well.  I will have the 2 boys to consider. Would we make the drive every 4 weeks, then 2, then weekly to meet up with this OB? And then after that, would we move up there for the last 4 or so weeks of pregnancy--and what week would I choose? 37? 36?  Jason would have to stay down here to work, so how would that work? And where would we stay?  My parents (my relationship with my mother is far too complex for the scope of this blog) live in a suburb of Dallas, but could I really live with them again for that long without developing preeclampsia? Yeah, we would have to make room in our budget for a short term rental property. And could I do it without my midwives? I need them by my side when I am going through this, but they wouldn't be there if I had to travel all the way up there.

Still, all that is not enough to have me consenting to a RCS.  I suppose I could always just wait until the last minute and walk into an Austin hospital and refuse a section, but then there is the whole battling hospital staff while a baby's head works its way down my birth canal....that isn't my idea of my dream vaginal birth, either, but a girl will do what a girl's got to do to have a normal birth, right?  I don't want a vaginal birth at any and all costs, but I also don't want a RCS for no reason other than I have been sectioned before, especially with ACOG's new position on TOL after 2 cesareans.  So, I guess that is what it would come down to--travel or battle (hey, that almost rhymes).  Plus, I'm pretty sure I could hire B as a monitrice and go in pushing.

Does anyone else see how ridiculous it is that a woman would have to go through all of this just to have a chance at a normal birth?!?!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well that didn't last long....

Sunday morning, I slept in and forgot to take my temp.  No biggie.  Like I said, it's not like I would be relying on it for birth control purposes or really anything other than liking to chart.  Well, I wake up Monday morning and my BBT is nowhere to be found.  Awesome.  So, now I have 3 days of temps--Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week--and it looks like I may need to invest in a new thermometer.  I really would like to find the old one though, mainly because I have dogs.  And let me say, I have learned the hard way that dogs like to chew/lick/smack on things that have been inserted into their owner's various orifices. Anyone ever had a NuvaRing slip out while a chihuahua was in the room?!?!  I have.  I can only hope my thermometer doesn't meet the same fate.

I think I'm going to wait until the end of this week before ordering a new one.  I'm still hoping the old one shows up--we have such fond memories together.  When I first prepared to take my temp after almost a year without, the last temp that popped up was 99.3.  Awwwww, my vagina was warm from Emre, how sweet!!

And side, but possibly related, note.  Monday afternoon I had a wonderfully steamy dream.  I mean, the kind you wake up from and are disappointed to find out that wasn't real life.  I will spare you the details because 1) It was a rather stereotypical housewife fantasy dream, and 2)  This blog is about me getting pregnant, not you, and I don't want to be responsible for any oops! babies.  But I woke up and I could swear flames were going to come shooting out of my yoni like the fireworks out of Katy Perry's boobs in her "Firework" video.  Seriously, it was that good.  I'm pretty sure it's entirely too early for me to be ovulating, but then again, I have never breastfed and charted before, so who really knows?  At least I know I won't be catching that next egg whenever it comes :(  but really  :)  but kind of  :(

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sugar Mama

I've decided to give up sugar.

Ok, I am working on reducing my sugar intake.

FINE, you beat it out of me...I am just giving up sodas for a week.  Give me a break, why dontcha?

Ok, so I'm trying to get my body as healthy as possible before baby 3 (s/he who is not in existence yet really needs a clever name, don't you think? What about thrice, T for short? Yeah that works...I think this tangent is too long for a parenthetical, incidentally).  To that end, I am swearing off sodas for at least a week in favor of green smoothies, water, and the occasional glass of juice.  This is going to be sososososo hard because I love soda.  Seriously, do you see the crazed look in my eyes in the picture above? That is what sodas/the sugar in them does to me.  Everytime I see a can of pop, this song starts playing in my head.  If it's diet, this one goes off.  I could easily write a novel called "Aspartame: A Love Story."  Get the picture?

Well, no one said this was going to be comfortable, right?  And every. single. time. I make a decision like this, when I start to waver, I am going to picture myself pushing a nice, healthy, juicy baby right on out onto my living room floor (or maybe into the tub....remember that rectal pressure?!?!).  Because, yeah, did I mention that I grow enormous babies? And while I love, absolutely *love* a good V/HBAC story featuring a ginormous fetus, I personally have no interest in giving birth to another toddler.  I am all about swinging the odds in my favor, and having labored with a 10lb8oz baby with a 15" head, I can, without reservation, say that I am happy to check that one right on off my bucket list.  So I know I am going to have to really watch my sugar intake--amongst other things--if I don't want to grow another enormous baby.  And when you're pregnant ain't no time to be trying to kick addictions, let me tell ya.

So, I'm starting small, just taking this first week for right now and only focusing on soda.  I will, hopefully, address my cupcake addiction some time in the (unforeseeable) future.

I already have a headache.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Filters aren't just for coffeemakers

One amazing thing that has come out of my birth experiences has been the opportunity to be connected to so many like-minded women who I otherwise would not have come into contact with.  I literally have friends all over the world who have similar views on birth (and beyond)!  This means that I am going to have such amazing support even outside of my husband and wonderful birthing team when it is our time again.

Unfortunately, the internet is also a place where people feel at liberty to say anything in any way, without consideration for other people's feelings. Case in point--yesterday, a question was posed on an internet forum: When would you consent to an elective c/s as opposed to a VBA2C? Right up my alley, right?! So, of course, I responded that the only thing that would stop me from trying for my HBA2C would be a condition that would preclude a vaginal birth under any circumstances.  A ton of amazing women, including women with "special scars" (like inverted "T" incisions), who have had successful VBAMC responded.  How wonderful!!! Why, then, do women who have never even had a cesarean feel that it is appropriate or acceptable to come into the discussion and make comments like "I don't know if I would have more children if I had 2 cesareans." Or the ever present person who knows someone who COMPLETELY RUPTURED just recently during a TOL after a cesarean.  W.O.W.  Really?!?  It is these kind of comments that can really get into a cesarean mother's head, even one who is otherwise confident and comfortable in her decision, niggle at her, creating doubts and fears and interfering with her peace going into her birth.  I know because comments like this really stick in my head, despite my best efforts to keep them out.  That is another reason I am so glad I am blogging--I can come here and spill about how that kind of stuff really affects me.

Look, I know the internet is a crazy, crazy place where you can't control what other people say or do--to some extent, it is a macrocosm of real life. In real life, you have the occasional person who will make comments like that to your face, but that is more the exception than the rule.  On the internet, people tend to be a little more bold and less considerate--and perhaps they don't understand that what they are saying could be hurtful. But, if you're reading this and you have never had a cesarean and are considering commenting on whether or not you would have more children after one or more cesareans, do me a favor and don't, unless what you have to say is 100% supportive and related with empathy and compassion.  We have enough people telling us we can't, trust me.  We certainly don't need you to add your voice to the hundreds of others.  

And, for the record, I am sure our third child will be very happy we decided to have him or her even though I have had 2 cesareans.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Fertile Friend

My two angels catching some Zzzzzs.  And yes, that thing in the bottom right hand corner is my BBT

Well, it's back to temping for me with the return of my period this week. Not that it will be effective to use for birth control purposes, since I am sure my cycle will continue to be sporadic while I am nursing.  E is a great sleeper, but I'm still not risking it....and after I denounce my vow of chastity after 6 months (that's right, y'all thought I was playing. But I. Want. This. Homebirth. and I'm not risking it to anything I can control), I want to be able to keep some sort of record of when I am ovulating. And maybe I will be regular, you just never know.

Plus, I really like waking up at 4:30 AM to stick a thermometer up my vag. No, seriously.  It is a close second behind peeing on a stick.  Oh, who am I kidding?  As all my mom friends know, peeing on sticks is pretty much the most exciting thing in the world.  I'm pretty sure I think and say "Oh #$@!" no matter how it comes out.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Risky Business

So, what is this blog about, really?  Sure, it is an electronic journal of my journey to another fabulous birth experience, but it is also supposed to be about empowerment of other women in their own births.

After this post on The Unnecesarean this week, stuff really hit the fan on a lot of the facebook groups to which I subscribe that advocate for birthing rights and empowerment.  Based on the comments about this woman and her choice, it became clear to me that others may define empowerment far differently than I do.  To me, it is not simply about statistics and making what may be a statistically "safer" choice.  There is a human factor to this that we cannot ignore.

Statistically, it is safer for a low risk mother to birth at home--this is absolutely not the right choice for everyone for a variety of reasons.  Yet, I see this backlash against doctors and technology sweeping the NCB community and I think it is so, so important that we not forget that we are dealing with human beings here.  Statistics don't have a face--a woman does.  Empowering a woman is not simply about saying "VBAC (or home birth or birthing center birth or whatever) is SAFER! You MUST VBAC or I am going to judge you."  Because, yeah, a lot of people openly admitted they judged this woman and her choice and I am just going to come out and say I think that is so ugly.  Until you have walked in this woman's shoes--complete with a traumatic birth in which an emergency arose that could have compromised her daughter's life--I don't think you can really say what choice you would make.  And even if you could say that you would choose to VBAC again, how would you feel if people on the other side threw stones?  "How could you even think to VBAC after what happened last time?!?!"

This really hits close to home because, aside from the people I surround myself with, the general public and people who aren't as informed on the risks of HBAMC may look at me the same way and say I am making a selfish choice.  I was going to discuss this later on in another blog post, but I am going to come on out with it here.  During my cesarean with E, it was discovered that I had varicosities along my scar line (another blessing that came out of his cesarean was their discovery--now my midwives have knowledge of them where they wouldn't have otherwise).  These varicosities, if I rupture, could cause me to bleed to death pretty quickly. That is a risk and its real.  Yet, I am still making the decision to try for an HBA2C.  Why? Because, for me, the risks of an elective 3rd cesarean outweigh the risks of a rupture.  And because I trust my birth team to keep me safe in the event of signs of an impending rupture.  But, I know I am also opening myself up to a lot of criticism--I fully accept that people may look at my situation and make a judgment on my choice.  And I don't think that's fair.

Birth is an intensely unique and personal experience.  What is right for one woman is not absolutely right for another.  Isn't that what women who choose midwifery care often complain about?  The cookie cutter nature of obstetric care?  We can get individualized care from a midwife that doesn't look solely at numbers or studies, but instead focuses on the whole woman--her experiences, including her fears, which will affect her birthing experience.

Empowering a woman doesn't mean that she will look at the same information you do and make the exact same choice.  It means providing a woman with all the unbiased information available, opening ourselves up to discussion without judgment, and then supporting a woman in the decision she feels is best for her and her baby.  At least that's what it means in my book.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Girl, Positive

Yes, that is the title of a Lifetime made for TV movie.  And yes, I do envision my future after raising kids to involve lots of boxed wine and LMN on 24/7.  Don't judge.

This year, I made a commitment to be more positive.  I was a big grouch a lot of the time during Emre's pregnancy.  Everything annoyed me--from my dogs to being postdates to skinny jeans. was out of control.  And part of that bad attitude carried over into my birth.  Not at the beginning, but around hour 152 (of course, I am exaggerating) my morale really started flagging.  I was so sick to death of pumping, crawling stairs, walking the neighborhood, doing curb walks, etc to try to bring on contractions.  I really, really wanted my body to take over on its own because, while it was nice to be able to rest a lot, it was mentally taxing to be in labor for so long.  But I wasn't doing myself any favors with that kind of attitude.

Being Suzy Sunshine does not come naturally to me at all.  The first couple months, I really had to work hard to change my FMLs into LMLs, but you know what I've noticed?  After faking it for awhile, I catch myself looking on the bright side without even noticing.  I'm sure this can only help me throughout my next pregnancy and delivery.  If I have to pump for 50 hours or drink an entire bottle of castor oil to get into a rhythm of active and sustained contractions, I'm going to do it and I will do it with a smile on my face.  Plus, K & B make a pretty delicious castor oil mint ice cream concoction.

Dear Universe, this post is in no way meant to be construed into a request for another super long labor.  I will gladly take anything under 12 hours.  With a BIG smile on my face.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the natural cesarean

Well, today's post was supposed to be a "what if wednesday" feature (I guess the explanation on that will have to wait until next week), but instead I am going to have to go ahead and address the natural cesarean controversy I see playing out in the NCB community right now.

You know how women like to joke about men whipping out their penises and comparing them to each other?  Well, guess what ladies? We do the same thing...except with our cervixes (yes, that is the correct pluralization of cervix...I googled. Also acceptable "cervices," but I'm getting off topic here).  There seems to be some sort of weird competition amongst some women about who is closer to Mother Earth through their vagina or something.

"Oh, you birthed in a hospital?? Hospitals are for sick people....I did it in a birthing center."

"A birthing center?? Why did you even leave home? I had my baby in my living room."

"Your living room?? I dropped my baby in my garden and immediately picked my hoe back up and got right back to work."

And a lot of times, in all this infighting, the women who have had cesareans are made to feel less than because we haven't yet reached that almighty grail so somehow we have failed as women, right?

Look, we have an innovative and thoughtful procedure through which a kinder, gentler cesarean for both mother and baby can occur.  I sure wish this was available when I delivered (I won't even get into the arguments about who "delivers" a baby during a cesarean) A in 2008.  And whether I wanted to call it natural, mom/baby centered, or what the hell ever, I would dare anyone to correct me on the semantics of my birth.

Can a cesarean ever be a natural birth? No, but you know what else isn't natural? Some women and their babies surviving childbirth.  Because although the cesarean rate is entirely too high and we need to work on lowering it, the fact of the matter is that cesareans often save lives.  Too often I see the cesarean blanketly vilified for no other reason than because it is a cesarean and that is counterproductive.  In order to effectuate change, we must not continue polarizing women and pitting ourselves against one another.  I am not less than because I have had two cesareans--in fact, it is likely that I am a better woman for both these operations.

I want a vaginal birth for so, so many reasons, but I assure you none of them is so that I can whip out my giant cervix in the bathroom at a party and say to another woman, "Now show me yours."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Want to know the downside to having a not even 3 month old exclusively breastfed baby who will sleep ten hours at night? Remember this post? That's right.  I just got my period.  My freakin' period.  After 378 days without her, she's back.

Today's post was supposed to be lighthearted and funny--about my love of peeing on sticks and the possibility of buying OPKs in bulk off Amazon, but instead I think I'm going to go try to find the positive in this.  I might be awhile.

Oh, and what's my husband's response to all this, you ask? "The blood is back in town.  It's your body's way of saying, 'Is time.'" SMH

Monday, March 21, 2011

Something's Gotta Give

Ok, bear with me here. I was watching Pregnant in America last night, so obviously the ridiculously high cesarean rate was brought back to the front of my mind....ok, so it never really left, but now it is in the blogging portion of my mind.

So, it got me thinking, for the umpteenth time, about why this is. Well, truth be told, we know why this is.  One in three women absolutely do not need to have their babies via cesarean.  The neonatal mortality rate proves that we aren't saving babies here.  So, why so many cesareans? And how do doctors sell women on this when it is not--in a lot of cases--truly the safest for mom and baby? Obviously, on the doctors' side of the issue there are things like convenience and liability concerns.  Why go in on a Saturday to deliver a baby when you could spend that time with family? And our society is so litigious I understand why doctors have a CYA attitude sometimes. But has it gotten to the point that creating a good defense in a malpractice suit is worth more than the cost of a mother's or her baby's life?  Because, y'all, that is what's at stake here.  Sure, the risk of an amniotic fluid embolus resulting from an induction may be small, but so is the risk of uterine rupture (especially catastrophic uterine rupture)--and doctors are often quick to sell induction while being more reluctant to attend VBACs (again, speaking in generalities here.  I, of course,  know there are exceptions to the rule).  Then, on the mom's side you have a trained professional, upon whom we are taught to rely from childhood, telling you that you can schedule a day to meet your long anticipated arrival with relatively low risks--what they don't mention is that there is about a 50% chance that you will end up in the OR if you go that route.  But no matter to them, they can perform a cesarean relatively quickly and they have ultimate control in that situation.  No long laboring mothers or babies with a surprise presentation.  And, for the mother, no one will blame you if you make a choice that, even if people don't acknowledge it, endangers your baby's life and the baby ends up passing away.  I think they mentioned this in the documentary--when you choose to birth at a hospital, no one is going to place blame or responsibility for a tragedy on you.  It is assumed you made the safest choice by choosing the hospital even if you consented to procedures that have a proven risk of danger to your or your baby's health.

So, what's really going on here?  And how do we fix this?  I am doing the best I can sharing my story as openly as I can, to the point of annoyance to some, I'm sure.  But what is it going to take to get the birthing machine back on track?  This is such a complex issue with, I think, money at the root of it all.  And as long as financial concerns outweigh human ones, I'm not sure things will change.  Please remember that hospitals are businesses, people.  Sure they help people out, but in the end they have a bottom line.  And we the patients are consumers.  We can effect change by demanding it with our dollars, but enough of us have to care.  And as long as we accept our doctors' words as gospel, unfortunately, I don't think our cesarean rate will be dropping.  I can only hope it doesn't continue to climb. Because, women, listen.....this issue is not only affecting us.  It will affect our daughters, and our daughters' daughters, and our daughters' daughters' daughters.  And that's the truth.

Ugh, this was a little heavy even for me.  I'll try to be funny again tomorrow or later this week.

Birth Story Feature?

So, I am thinking of trying to add a birth story feature to this page.  I am like a dog after a bone when it comes to H/VBAMC, so I have collected a few facebook friends who have successfully H/VBAMC.  I figure someone reading this blog may be interested in H/VBAMC themselves and would like to read stories of women who have already been there.  Soooooo thinking of maybe adding a birth story here every so often.  And maybe all the stories don't have to be of planned HBAC/HBAMC that ended with a vaginal birth.  I think it's important that we have stories of empowering CBAC out there as well so that women know that it's possible to have an empowering birth experience despite the method of delivery.  I pretty much only know of mine, though, which obviously I already posted....

Anyway, what do y'all think?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Orgasmic Birth

Ok, I don't even know where to start with this book.  Let me say this.  If I could make a blanket out of it and bundle my soul up in it, I would.  And Chapter 5, "Expect the Unexpected," would be the fleece liner that kept me extra warm at night.  Does that make sense? I don't know much about blankets....or fleece to be honest.  But let's not get sidetracked....

So, the first time I saw this book on a bookshelf at Border's, I grabbed it right up to flip through the pages.  I mean, who wouldn't want to orgasm when they birth, right?!? I can only see the positive in that.  Well, the first page I flipped to had something about clitoral stimulation during labor. Whoa, buddy.  I know some of you probably think I'm a little out there, but let me assure you, vibrators and/or dildos have never been an item on any birth supply list I've ever made.  So, in an atypically prudish moment, I reshelved it.  Fast forward a couple weeks and Border's is going out of business.  What the heck, I thought? It's 20% off (and I know I have some bargain hunters reading who will shake their head at my little 20% off, but I am a sucker for a sale, what can I say?), so I'll buy it and read it for giggles and maybe pass it on to someone who is into that sort of thing.

Y'all.  There are no words to express my love for this book.  I think I had a mental orgasm about 30 times between pages 3 and 140.  The first chapter (they are really called "steps," not chapters) was about knowing birth.  The authors gave such a wonderful description of normal birth, including the role that interventions (medical and psychological) play in inhibiting a woman's labor.  I especially loved when they talked about fear in the mother releasing adrenaline and how that contracts muscles of the uterus, including the ones which really need to be relaxed in order for you to dilate. I remember when I was freaking out and I started shaking uncontrollably, K kept telling me over and over "That's OK, it's just adrenaline." Get to the hospital and surprise, surprise my cervix had sucked that baby back up a station or two and closed a couple centimeters.  And you know that weird place they call laborland? Where time and space cease to exist and you have no control over saying things to your birth team about how you never wanted to birth at home and they made you do it? And maybe not to be rude, you want an epidural? Yeah, there is a totally awesome explanation for that too. You don't really mean it, you're just in theta frequency.  I had been trying to think of a way to describe here for those who haven't been there that incredible place between reality and the place you go when your body is working to birth a baby.  It is a totally far out (yeah, I did) experience that defies description.  I imagine it is something like what it feels like to be really high on drugs, except without all the side effects....except for that baby thing you have to push out at the end.

The second chapter (step) is all about knowing your options. Hello!!!! That is my mission in life and on facebook, which has unofficially been turned into my own personal vagina/uterus fan page.  The authors start it out with a quote from a book called "A Good Birth, A Safe Birth." "If you don't know your options, you don't have any."  Did you catch that? Let me type it again, maybe with italics this time? "If you don't know your options, you don't have any."  Marinate on that one a little bit and I'll move on.

Next up is nutrition which is so, so important in growing a healthy baby. Regardless of the method of delivery you choose or end up having, we all truly do want healthy babies, right (duh)?  I never got any nutritional counseling with A.  Protein, what's that? A milkshake has a lot of protein, right? And nothing wrong with quenching my thirst (and sweet tooth) with a Coca Cola, right? Can't do diet coke...aspartame is no good for baby! One of the first things my midwives did was nutritional counseling with me.  An apprentice midwife (my postpartum doula with A) came over to my house and went grocery shopping with me and then showed me how to cook a couple healthy meals.  That's right, we got into the car together and she took me to the store and showed me what to buy and why to buy it.  Then, wait for it....she came into my house and showed me how to use the ingredients we had to make 3 healthy dishes.  All without being paid.  That's right--she just cared that much about me and my little embee (embryo for those not in the know) that she wanted to show me how to use food to grow the healthiest baby possible--and to keep myself as healthy as possible throughout my pregnancy.

On to the good stuff. Sex.  I know what you've all been thinking---when is she going to get to all the juicy stuff? Isn't this book called Orgasmic Birth!?! Well, sorry y'all.  I think I traumatized my mother in law enough yesterday, so you are going to have to discover this one on your own.

And now, my personal favorite. Step 5: Expect the Unexpected.  This is the theme to my journey to this pregnancy and birth! Are you kidding? Does this mean I am somehow psychically connected to the authors or maybe I'm just not as original as I thought.  Whatever, doesn't matter.  This chapter made me bust out a highlighter for the first time in 3 years--since bar study prep--and take notes.  Voluntarily.  Look, there are tons of things I can do to swing the odds of a great birth in my favor.  I can and will eat well, exercise, know all my options and make informed choices, but guess what? Birth is just a part of life and no one ever said life was predictable.  I'm not going to list all the complications that could preclude me having the birth I want because then I might start dwelling on them, but suffice it to say there are a number (a small number, but still) of them that may make a home birth, even a VBA2C in a hospital, ill advised or impossible.  And I'm not going to sit here and pretend I wouldn't be upset over it for a day, a week, a month, who knows how long.  But if that happens, I'm going to pull out Chapter 5 of this book and read it over and over until I remember there is a reason for the way everything happens in life--and again, birth is just a part of life.  There is a really great exercise in this chapter from Pam England of Birthing From Within fame called "tracking your tigers." It is about identifying core fears we have that may get in the way of our labor if they occur.  I am going to start this one up right now and track my tigers from pre-conception on to delivery. I am going to try to identify each and every fear I have and flesh it out.  Here is how the book says I should track my tigers:

  1. Write down all the things I hope won't happen at my birth (and since I will be starting early, I will include things I do not want to happen during my pregnancy as well)
  2. Look my tigers in the eye, and let myself flow into my fear
  3. Ask myself, "What do I need to do to tame or escape from each tiger, i.e. what will make my birth place safe?"
  4. Do it, even if I am afraid, and get help if I need it.
That is going to be so awesome.  And since it involves confronting things that make me uncomfortable, I suspect it may suck sometimes too.  But, overall, I think the end result will be awesome.

Finally, the last chapter which is extending your orgasmic birth into life. It kind of just reinforces and validates the kind of parenting style Jason and I are into and I suspect most anyone who would care about what I have to say would be too.

There are a bunch of birth stories at the end, but I want to save those for later on...maybe when we are starting to TTC and throughout my pregnancy.  Not that I will only read them once or anything (I will probably read every birth story I have access to several times), but I want to wait until I am a little closer to needing to get into that frame of mind.

So, what was the overarching message of this book for me? Surprisingly, it is not about diddling yourself until you have a mind blowing orgasm while your baby crowns.  Really, it is about giving up and giving in--surrendering to the process of birth. Not over thinking it or trying to make sure everything is perfect because, of course, you never could.  I never could.  This book feels like a love letter written just for me and I know I am going to reread it many, many times in the next couple of years.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sexy Saturday

Ok, I swore I was only going to do one post today, but seriously...

I suspect my fertility may be returning soon.  I have been a little suspicious because I have been a touch grouchier than usual the past week or so.  I tend to the ornery anyway, but I made a commitment to try to be more positive and on the bright side this year, which I had been doing really good at until this past week. Pretty soon, all my friends will be hidden from my facebook news feed. Yeah, it's bad.  So, sign #1 right?

Sign #2. This one is a little PG-13/X-rated, so read at your own risk. And don't pretend you don't know how I'm going to get my HBA2C baby in there. Damn, there goes the ornery again! What the heck?! Anyway, the past couple of days I have had an all too familiar, but long time gone, tingling in my nether regions.  Y'all, seriously. I have struggled with my drive since my pregnancy with E**.  I was actually physically sickened at the thought of sex. I have no idea why because I had a normal to above average drive with A. But the thought of anything even coming near where my baby was coming out was enough to bring on morning sickness all over again. So, suffice it to say, this is a long forgotten feeling.

So, back to something I hinted at it my first post today...the oops baby and my guarantee.  Look, we are keeping it real, right? And by we, I mean me. I am super, super paranoid about catching that first post partum egg before I would even know I was fertile.  Like to the point where I can't think about anything else when I think about having sex.  When we have engaged in such marital fun times since E has been born, I have packed my vagina with all sorts of fun things to kill his little baby makers.  And, I will say that I have been trying to find other ways to fulfill my duty in that area that don't involve anything that would risk me getting pregnant (as an aside, and because I think it's kind of funny, I will share that I get a little sad every time I see all my potential babies being washed away....TMI? Nah.).  But now, with this sudden onset of something resembling a sex drive, I'm going to have to figure out what to do.  I will certainly continue packing the vag with the spermkillers, but I am secretly hoping the tingles go away until E is 6 months old. Seriously. I am paranoid.

Also, I really hope my mother in law doesn't read this one. I usually post links to the posts on my facebook, but I think I'll leave this one off.  Can you imagine? "Hey, dear sweet mother in law, I want to make wild sex with your son, but I am paranoid about getting pregnant again."

**I realized I have been referring to my sons as "first son/second son." No idea why, but I'm going to go ahead and fix that. So, I will be calling them by their first initial.  First son is "A," second son is "E."

You don't need furniture to have a baby

The first time I met K & B, they came over to my house for what was supposed to be a preconception meet and greet.  Turns out I was 3w2d pregnant, having just gotten my BFP the day before.  

We had just moved into the home we are renting and we didn't have much furniture.  I was horribly embarrassed by this, so naturally, I called attention to it first thing when they walked in the door.  "You don't need furniture to have a baby," they told me.

Since I am now in the business of taking the simple and turning it into something profound, I've decided that what they were really telling me went far beyond furniture.  No, I didn't need a nice formal living set (which we now have and got before the birth, thankyouverymuch!) to birth a baby. So, what will I really need in order to birth a baby and before we are ready to welcome a new member into our family?  I'm ready to start compiling a list so that I have something concrete to focus on in the next year or two--this list will be subject to modification (addition or deletion), contain both the practical and the more abstract, and most importantly, be open to input! So, here's what I've got so far.

  • Support
    • I think I've got this one pretty well covered. K & B obviously know what they are doing and pretty well proved themselves during my second son's birth.  So, birth team--check
    • I bought Jason a copy of "The Birth Partner" to read.  I would like him to read it a couple times before the pregnancy and birth, but he seems to think he doesn't need to start it until I'm pregnant again.  We shall see who wins this one
    • I am going to need to figure out what to do with the boys when I birth.  Will I want them there with me? I have seriously considered seeing if I can hire a doula for them, who can be in charge of their emotional needs and maybe remove them if need be or stay with them in the event of a transport.  I sent my older son away for the last little bit of my pregnancy and I don't really want to do that again for a variety of reasons--it is really hard to guess when you will go into labor, so I sent him at 40 weeks and had about 10 days where I should have been walking and active, but I just sat on my butt (whoops!), plus while I appreciated the rest it gave me, it was also really hard to be separated from him
  • Minivan
    • This is one of those practical ones.  We have 2 cars, neither of which can fit three in carseats  across the back, so we will have to upgrade.  And yes, I am excited about the prospect of getting a minivan.  And, no, I don't know who I am anymore.  We should have one of the cars paid off this year, and we really would like to avoid having two car payments at the same time ever again.  The other car is set to be paid off fallish of 2013, but with the money freed up from the car we will pay off this year, I am hoping we can throw a lot more per month at it and get it paid off sooner.  I'm not kidding, y'all, Jason suggested that we just caravan everywhere for awhile.  The problem with this is that it requires another adult with me and Jason works full time. So, yeah....I've been trapped inside all day with my older son before. No, just no.
  • My uterus to heal
    • This is pretty obvious.  I need my scar to be at its strongest.  I've heard there is evidence that it can be fully healed by 6 months (and if we had an oops, I would be prepared to try that early...more on that later because, trust me, there won't be an oops....guaranteed), but I don't think I could handle the physical taxation of pregnancy and do all the mental preparation I need to that soon.  Plus, I think the longer the better, hence waiting at least 18 months.  I probably won't be as insane about protection as I am right now after about 12 months, but still I think it will be at least 18 months before we actively TTC.  And no, despite my earlier post about contradicting myself, you cannot point me to this post if we decide to try earlier.
  • Some serious fear release
    • While I can't recall exactly how labor feels in the same way I can tell you how a stubbed toe feels, I remember the intensity.  Specifically, I remember the rectal pressure.  Y'all, I'm telling you, that rectal pressure is no. freaking. joke.  I remember the midwives at the birthing center from my first son's birth casually mentioning rectal pressure at my first appointment when I was about 9 or so weeks and I just kind of dismissed it.  Never again.  Seriously. You don't know the definition of pressure.  Ok, let me stop talking about that because not only am I not releasing any fear, but I might be scaring some first time moms to be!!! I woke up from the surgery after my second son's birth and I couldn't even recall what it felt like, so I know that birth amnesia is so true, but I also know that I will feel it in the moment and I need to allow myself to be open to that so I can relax my bottom (which, by the way, was one of the hardest things to do) and let my baby come down
    • I will also have to let go of any fear (is that possible? maybe most of the fear?) of something going wrong. That is what I am having my midwives with me for, to spot any indicators of trouble and to transport me quickly in the event of an emergency.  I am going to need to really focus on my only job, which will be to be a laboring mother bringing my baby into the world.  I need to be able to leave the details to them.
    • I am also worried about my blood pressure risking me out.  Remember when I mentioned that it was my nemesis? Yeah, it really is.  Even though my midwives told me I won't even have to be considered borderline high risk next time since I proved that I can control it with proper diet and exercise, I still worry that it will risk me out. Why can't I let go of this??!  Well, first of all, I have had a few wonky readings since giving birth.  My pressures were great in the hospital and are great about 75% of the time at home when I am monitoring, but sometimes I just get a random high number and my heart sinks. What is up with that? I don't understand why or how they happen, but I really need to stay on top of it so that this doesn't have to be a struggle in my next pregnancy.  Another reason it really worries me is that my mother, who also has struggled with her blood pressure most of her adult life, was able to control her blood pressure through diet and exercise until her early 30s and then it just went all crazy and she has to be medicated even though she is in superb physical shape.  So, I guess in the back of my mind (ok, really more of the front), I am worried this will happen to me since it did to her.  Then again, my mother had 3 vaginal births and no cesareans, so there's no telling, I guess....
  • Savings for chiropractic care, acupuncture, etc
    • I think chiropractic care was invaluable to me during my last pregnancy.  I highly suggest regular adjustments to all pregnant women (and even if you're not!).  There are so many benefits, and especially for me, I think it played a key role in keeping my blood pressures down.  But those visits aren't cheap.  A 5 minute adjustment ran me $40 and I was seeing my chiropractor on the same schedule I saw my midwives.  So, every 4 weeks at the beginning, then 2, then I was supposed to go weekly but it became kind of a financial strain, so I didn't see them as often as I should have at the end.  
    • I also got acupuncture a couple times at the end and those visits ran me $60 something for the first and then I think it was slightly cheaper the next time, but still.  But I am going to be doing that again next pregnancy as well. Also great for the blood pressure
    • Mayan abdominal massage--this one is actually probably more of a prenatal expense. I want to go see someone in the next couple months so I can work on breaking up any adhesions that may be forming.  I felt what I now think were adhesions breaking up during my labor with my second son right before I had my huge panic, so I would like to address this issue before we conceive. Plus, the person who gives it to me will teach me how to do it myself, so it is really only a one time cost.  Looks like it could be anywhere from $80-$125ish
  • To get out of my head
    • I have no idea how long this will take.  I also kind of have no idea how to do it.  And I'm worried that if I start thinking about how to get out of my head, it will just take me further into it and, quite frankly, it all kind of confuses me.  I am hoping by writing out so much of what I'm thinking and feeling, I can get to where I need to be....since I've decided to be brutally honest and open, I'm hoping I can get some really constructive feedback in this area
    • Does making this list constitute being too in my head?!? Should I even be asking a question like this?

So, how about it.....what would you add?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shameless Plug

Well, I'm not sure it's shameless since it isn't for me.  And I'm not even sure it's that good of a plug, since I have all of 6 followers, none of whom live in Texas.  Wait, that's not true.  Jason is following and he lives here but 1) I totally forced him to follow me, and 2) he isn't hiring a midwife anytime soon.  Regardless, I'm going to plug my midwives hard here.  I love these women for so many reasons, most of which I'm not articulate enough to properly convey through this blog, so I am just going to tell you some of the first things I remember them saying to me when I talked to them after my second son was born.

Kari: After telling me she was proud of me, I remember her saying "Well, now we know you dilate."

Brielle: "I guess we will be attending your HBA2C."

A girl couldn't do better for herself.

That's right, their names are links.  Click them.  
Also, for brevity's sake, I am going to start referring to them here as K & B.

Ok, who had 6 posts on Friday? Seriously, I'm putting my computer to sleep. I have a post itching to be written, but I'm going to try to refrain until tomorrow or Sunday.... Hopefully... Maybe. Is Saturday morning at 1 AM too soon?!?

I reserve the right

Alright, this just popped into my head and I need to go ahead and put it out there.  I reserve the right to contradict myself.  I'm a person, constantly evolving.  Obviously, I am not the same person I was three years ago, and I won't be the same person in a year, a month, maybe even a week.  So, I reserve the absolute right to change my point of view on something.

Having said that, I invite you to call me on it.  I may get miffed, stomp my feet or stick my tongue out at you (behind your back of course!), but this will only invite self reflection on my part and I am going to need to do some serious work, however uncomfortable, on myself throughout this journey.  So, please, call me on it.  Also, in case you are unfamiliar with me or my particular brand of humor, the bit above about sticking my tongue out at joke.  I would do that to your face.

Also, considering starting a weekly blog pool.  On average, how many posts will she do a day? What do you think? Yay? Nay? The winner at the end of the year gets a discount from my midwives on your next birth.  Oh shoot, I didn't run that by them first.  No worries, they love me...we'll work something out.

Let me be clear

Before this blog goes much further, I think it's important that I make the point of this blog clear.  First and foremost, it is a journal to and for myself chronicling the path to and through my next pregnancy and birth. But it is also a place I want women to be able to come and hear that they can.  Too often in our society, women are told they can' are too big, too small, your hips aren't wide enough, the pain is too much, your body isn't strong enough.  You can go anywhere and hear that.  This is just my little corner of the internet in which I will tell you that you can.

And, for the record, I am not anti-obstetrician or anti-hospital. Obstetricians have a role in pregnancy and birth just as midwives do.  For myself, that role would only come into play if my pregnancy or delivery became high risk.  Then, certainly, my midwife could and would not attend me.  For other women, an obstetrician is the way to go for their entire pregnancy and delivery, high risk or not.  And that's alright too.  I've said it before and I will say it again--I do not care how a woman chooses to give birth.  That is her business.  The only thing I care about is that she have access to the resources that will make true informed consent possible. Unless we know all of our options, we cannot make a decision that is 100% informed.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging :)

One in a Hundred

Ok, seriously, I am blogging a lot. A lot. And I am kind of scared that I am going to run out of things to blog about between now and the next 18 months-2 years+ before we are pregnant again.  But whatever, I've opened the gate and there is no shutting it now :)

I wanted to share, with permission, an email I received a couple days ago. Really, it was the impetus behind my starting the blog so early.  I had been thinking about doing it for awhile and then I got this from a law school classmate and facebook friend and I knew the time was now. The subject line read "Thank you" and here is what it said:

I just wanted to say thanks for educating me about birth through your fb posts and twitter feed and everything you have posted advocating for natural birth and midwives etc. Without your knowledge I have soaked up by quiet lurking osmosis over the years, I never would have stopped to think or been comfortable to demand what I wanted. I have been aware of water birth and the concept behind it since I was 16 but it wasn't until now at 29 that I have come to be comfortable with what it means and what I believe in. I am not sure I would have been comfortable making this leap beyond the mainstream. 

We are locking down our fb accounts (walls, tagging) this weekend as we will start to tell friends and fam (but not work) over this weekend. I am eight weeks on sat and cannot wait a moment longer. I met with the midwives group I am going with for this pregnancy today though, and I just had to tell you because without you I never would have even looked for them. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And shhhhhh don't tell anyone!! ;)

After Emre's birth, I really thought about keeping my plans for our next birth a secret and only sharing them if I finally got my vaginal birth.  I didn't realize how many people were truly interested in my pregnancy and birth until after the fact, and I thought I might feel pressured during my next pregnancy about having to have a vaginal birth and really compromising my peace during that time, which of course could lead to me sabotaging myself and then all sorts of unnecessary emotional trauma.  But then, I get this, and I know my journey is so much bigger than just me.  I am speaking to women I don't even know are listening, and by allowing myself to be so open about my experiences, I am using my voice to make a difference.  

I've got my one in a hundred.

And, more specifically, my birth matters to me

I was going through some old facebook pictures the other day and I came across some pictures of me taken when the boys were around the same age. Wow!!  Maybe it is just because I know myself, but I can see how much healthier (and I don't just mean physically) I am after my second son's birth and I think that has more than a little to do with my positive birth experience. It makes me so sad to see where I was after my first son's birth--my outward appearance was simply a manifestation of how sick I was on the inside.  What a difference a positive birth experience--regardless of method of delivery--makes.  Have I mentioned how blessed I am lately?!?!

A little over 2 months after the birth of my first son

 Exactly 2 months after the birth of my second son

Birth Matters

“All that matters is that you have a healthy baby.”

This statement, and its ramifications, have been discussed ad nauseum in the natural birthing community, so I’m not going to go too deep into it other than a brief commentary.  Of course a healthy baby matters, but so does a healthy, empowered mother.  A woman, upon becoming pregnant, does not simply become a vessel whose only purpose is to somehow expel this baby “safely” into the world—the mother is a being in and of herself whose perceptions of her pregnancy, through her labor and delivery, will forever impact her views on her body and its abilities.

I would, however, like to discuss an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed since my own journey into motherhood.  Women love to talk about their births.  Hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear some woman reference something that happened to her or some way she felt during her birthing time.  And this isn’t just because I am so entrenched in the natural birth community.  These are ordinary, every day women, not associated with any of the communities I have become aligned with whose primary focus is birth. 

One instance in particular has stuck with me for many months.  My son and I were at open play at our local Gymboree.  There was a boy there with his mother having a great time.  An older woman approaches this mother and says to her “His head reminds me of my husband’s” to which the mother replied “Big?” and the older woman smiled and said, “Well, yes.”  I was shocked by the mother’s next reply: “Thank goodness he was a cesarean.”  This wasn’t a newborn boy, on whose birth you might expect a mother to be reflecting—this was a toddler, close to 24 months.  And you know what else I noticed?  The woman’s body language didn’t say, “thank goodness he was a cesarean.”  I saw her stiffen, as if she were expecting some comment or question from the older woman that implied (or said outright, as some people are so bold!), “surely, there is no way you could have birthed a baby with a head this size.”  And it is like she anticipated that question and headed it off with a casual dismissal and resignation to the fact that she had a cesarean.  I am so sad for her.

Even aside from anything negative, I often hear women sharing moments of triumph they experienced during birth, rising above themselves and expressing pride in what their bodies were able to accomplish.  And when one woman starts telling her birth story, I notice that other women are eager to chime in with “That happened to me too!” or “I remember how that felt,” and often anxiously await their turn to share the story of their own births.

I have read in many places that a woman will never forget how she was made to feel on the day she gave birth to her children, and I can believe it.  No matter how you do it, labor and delivery is an intensely personal, private and intimate thing.  It is truly the culmination of a woman’s sexual life, which starts at puberty with menses, continues through the experiences with her first lover(s), on through her pregnancy, and then finally, the climax—birth!  Many times, you can get a read on just how a woman felt on the day of her birth simply by her body language when you ask about it.  Some women will have immediate expressions of joy or triumph, others may become closed off or defensive.  Either way, very rarely will you ask a woman about her birth and be met with nonchalance.

So, yes, birth matters.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And last post today, I swear....

But you need a full background on me, right? So I'm going to post a link to the story of my second son's birth, which also tells the story of my first son's birth, so you know where I'm coming from if you don't necessarily know me :)

Blog Posts to Come.....

So, apparently I have a lot to say. Now that I've committed to journaling my journey to an HBAMC, I have all these ideas rolling around in my head of what I want or need to talk about. So, I'm starting a list here (to keep track of for myself and also give you an idea of where I'm going!) and I will plan to hit these topics in the relatively near future.

--What if I never have a vaginal birth? What will that feel like?

--Currently reading: I'm thinking this will kind of be a recurring post, obviously just updated based on what I'm reading. Right now, it's "Orgasmic Birth" by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro

--I don't need to justify my birth experiences, so why do I catch myself doing just that sometimes?

--I don't need to justify my birth choices, so why do I sometimes get defensive as soon as the topic comes up?

--The power of words--VBAC attempt v. Failed VBAC (said to a woman after a birth).  VBAC attempt or I will VBAC (in a birth plan).

Staying Focused & Reaching Out

When I was pregnant with my first son, I really had no idea of the dangers of induction.  I was part of a pretty mainstream message board and it just seemed like induction was the thing to do when you got close to that pesky thing called a due date.  Oh, you're 37 weeks? Baby's lungs must be matured...let's kick that sucker out in the next couple weeks before he gets too big.  And it seemed like everyone who went ahead with their induction was successful--at this time, I defined success as merely having a vaginal birth.  So, of course, my induction wouldn't end any other way, right? Never mind the fact that at my first internal at 36 weeks my cervix wasn't changing at all or that my doctor diagnosed me with an android pelvis and told me I would probably have to have a cesarean**.  What did he know?  And the fact that he would be going on vacation soon after my due date--a fact he failed to mention until that 36 week appointment--that won't matter.  Because I was getting induced and everyone's induction is successful.

When I started really researching what went wrong with my birth, which wasn't really until my son was almost a year old, I started to learn the truth.  That my induction leading to cesarean was more common than I thought.  In fact, after I found communities like ICAN and Mothering, I learned that my story wasn't that unique at all.  When I walked into that hospital 38+6 weeks pregnant with not a care in the world, just happy to be getting ready to meet my baby--who would be delivered vaginally, of course--it was like a lamb to the slaughter.

Then I started to get pissed.  I mean, really angry.  How in the world is this OK that this is happening to women? Why are doctors, nurses, so called care providers, doing this to women who put all their faith in them? Why didn't anyone tell me the risks of induction? I am paying these people to make sure that my baby and I have a safe birthing experience and they care so little about me that they will give a half assed attempt at getting my horribly unfavorable cervix into labor?!?! You have got to be kidding me. It's not just the doctors though.  Mainstream birthing shows on the television had me suckered too.  Story after story of a woman getting induced for no good reason, but shockingly, I saw relatively few "failed" inductions leading to cesareans.  Why is that? Are these guys in on it too?

Then I went to an even darker place where I became consumed with jealousy for other women who made the same mistake I did--consenting to the induction--and managed to have a vaginal birth.  Why were they so special? What about their bodies made them respond "favorably" to the Cervidil and the Pitocin? And why, when I cared so much about having a vaginal birth, and I heard many of them say "I don't care as long as I have a healthy baby," why then did I end up with a cesarean and they didn't? This was a horrible place to be.  I wasn't wishing cesareans on other women, but I came damn close a few times, thinking "Well, let them choose the induction. They'll wind up with a cesarean and that'll show them." I am so embarrassed to even admit that I had thoughts like that.  How ugly and hateful of me.

I had to decide to take all this negative energy and thinking I was having and redirect it into something powerful and positive.  I was wasting so much time giving breath to these thoughts that I wasn't focusing on me and what I needed to do to have my best birth.  I've gotten pretty good about it.  I still warn all my friends, when asked, about the risks of induction.  I try to do it as gently as possible and let them then make their own decision. And I have come a really long way.  Now when I hear that someone's being induced, I'm hoping they beat the odds and avoid the knife. But, it's been a long time coming for me to get to this place and I still occasionally start to get sucked into that line of thinking.  But as soon as I recognize that my thoughts are going in that direction, I hop off that train and remind myself that only positivity and light will get me where I need to go.

And you know what? Just because I learned my lesson the hard way doesn't mean other women have to.  What a blessing to come out of a difficult situation--I can use the lessons I've learned to counsel other women who may be right where I was back in 2008.  If I only reach one out of one hundred, it is worth it to me.

**If you are reading this, please know that it is so ridiculous to be getting internal exams at 36 weeks.  A lot of people will argue that you don't need vaginal exams until you are in labor (or maybe not even then), but all that aside, a first time mom has no business getting internal exams at 36 weeks. Also, your doctor cannot diagnose an android pelvis or tell you whether your pelvis is wide enough to deliver your baby through an internal exam. By the way, your pelvis is wide enough. /soapbox

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog Harder

Deep breath.

I am diving back into the world of blogging after a pretty dismal showing with my first blog attempt--a blog dedicated to my first son's life.  That hasn't been updated since he was about 18 months....he will be 3 in May. But it was my journey through his pregnancy and birth, and my journey to and through his brother's birth in December of this past year that led me here.  Two births--same method of delivery--with vastly different outcomes in terms of the lasting effect on me both physically and emotionally.

My first son's story was pretty typical--failed induction resulting in a cesarean around 39 weeks.  My second son's story was a triumphant and empowering HBAC turned CBAC.  I cherish both births for the lessons they've taught me--without either of them, I wouldn't be the woman I am today.  But, still, I yearn to know the feeling of birthing a baby vaginally. This blog will be dedicated to my journey through another pregnancy and home birth attempt when we are blessed with our third child.

I know what you're thinking.  This girl has a not even 3 month old baby at home and she's already thinking about her next pregnancy and birth. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner.  Well, that's not exactly true.  After my first birth, I became a planner.  You see, even though my first story is a typical "cascade of interventions," I was not blameless in that situation.  I take ownership of my role in the birth, as I think it is important to acknowledge how one can improve yourself before casting blame on others.  I really had no business getting pregnant when and how I did.  Basically, I just flushed my birth control pills down the toilet and said "Have at it!"  Well, not exactly, but you get the picture....What I should have done is gotten in the best physical condition I could have, which for me, would have included losing a pretty good amount of weight and ensuring that my blood pressure (which is pretty much my nemesis) was in check.  I also should have done way more research on pregnancy and childbirth so that I could have been an advocate for myself. Instead, I placed blind faith in a birthing center who dropped me like a hot potato around 19 weeks when my blood pressure started creeping up and then in an OB whose name I randomly picked off my insurance's list of covered providers.  About the only thing I did "right" that pregnancy was hire a doula.  It would be really nice if women could count on their care providers to be totally up front and honest with them, but the sad fact of the matter is that isn't the case.  And even if our culture were more "birth friendly," so to speak, it is still a good idea for a woman to be educated about birth so that she can make informed decisions about her body and her baby.  Anyway, I digress....

So, first pregnancy, no planning or preparation--cesarean section. Second pregnancy I prepared the hell out of.  I lost 50 pounds before becoming pregnant and I started looking for home birth midwives a good 9 or 10 months before we even conceived.  I knew what happened in hospitals and dammit, that wasn't happening to me again.  That pregnancy ended in the OR as well, but left me feeling victorious instead of defeated.  So what was different?  It turns out that what was so devastating for me the first time around was feeling unsupported and railroaded into a cesarean.  My second birth I had an entire birth team that believed in me and stuck with me through the end.  And I had a say in every single thing that happened to me.

I think my births have had pretty clear lessons.  My first was about finding my voice.  My second was about learning to trust--my care providers, my body, and birth.  I think my third will be about surrender. And I think the process of surrender will start a long time before I even get pregnant.  I am going to have to work through the fear of having a third cesarean--not fear of the surgery itself, but the emotions that may come after.  Even though I know that I can have a wonderful, amazing, and totally incredible cesarean birth experience, I still have this primal desire to birth a baby the good ol' fashioned way.  And, truth be told, I worry that I will feel defeated if I have another cesarean.  So, before I get pregnant, I am going to have to sit with that for a long while. Then, when I am in labor with our third, I am going to have to surrender to the overwhelming physicality of birth. During the transition phase of my labor with my second son, I had this feeling of overwhelming panic--it bubbled in my throat and I could taste it trying to crawl out of me.  I am scared that will happen again and I need to get to a point where I can surrender to the sensation of birth.  That may not happen until I am in the moment, but I know I need to do it. And I need to surrender to the idea that this birth may be totally out of my control.  One of my midwives told me something that is so true: I can't read or study my way to my VBAC.  I was all about gathering facts and statistics on VBAC versus elective repeat cesarean during my last pregnancy.  I am going to have to really get out of my head and just BE--as cheesy as that sounds, that is the only way I am going to get my HBA2C.  And that is going to be so hard.  So I'm starting early :)