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

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.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I just checked my cervix

And I'm now slightly in shock that babies come out of there.  Of course that could be because mine is firm, high and closed....I think. I wish I had K and B here to check it and confirm.  As it was, I was squatting over my copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility with one hand up my vag and the other feeling my nose to confirm its firmness.  It was pretty awesomely awk.

My Mayan abdominal massage is tomorrow and I'm so excited.  I mentioned my varicosities that were discovered during E's cesarean as well as that bump along the left side of my scar, so I hope we can address those tomorrow.

I have a lot on my mind in terms of fears that will need to be addressed before I go into my next pregnancy that I'm anxious to start fleshing out over the next few months.  I feel like I want to just write down every thing, big or small, that concerns me so I can get it out of me and maybe get feedback and support (or at the very least just vent about it). Sometimes I wish I could be this totally confident, fearless woman that just knew what the right thing was and did it--at peace and with no worries, but I'm not.  And I hate feeling or being vulnerable, so this is a pretty uncomfortable place for me to be.  I wish I could study my way to an HBA2C....I'm really good at studying, not so much at just feeling and being, so I've got a lot of work to do.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Freelance Friday

  • I have a Mayan abdominal massage scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1PM.  I got the recommendation from B's website. I'm really excited, and even though it was a lot up front--$165 for a 2 hour session and *maybe* an additional $20 or so for supplies (castor oil and herbal massage oil)-- I know it will be worth it during my next labor (and probably even before).  Plus, the MT is going to teach me how to do it myself at home, so it really isn't that much all things considered
  • Is it weird that I can't bring myself to throw away the panties that are stained with amniotic fluid from my birthing time?  Not only can I not throw them away, I still wear them.  And they may or may not be some of my favorite pair of panties--raggedy, granny and amniotic fluid stained.  I think it's the same reason I can't change my winter themed sheets.  Every time I look at them, I'm reminded of E's birth and that is so so so special to me.  I haven't worn the shirt he was born in since his birth (which was a super old college T-shirt of my dad's, which is awesome in and of itself) and I probably won't....not sure why. Maybe it's because everyone can see a shirt I'm wearing, so it would be more public, but my panties and my sheets are not regularly (just kidding! ...about the "regularly" part) exposed? And you all know how private I am.  Not like I would keep a blog where I talk about the most intimate, personal details of my life.  Oh wait.....
  • I started reading Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent.  I'm pretty sure it has already changed my life and I am only on part 2
  • I have been reading up on a lot of dietary considerations for growing a smaller baby and I am now in a very confused place. I am very conscientious about my protein intake--I especially was during E's pregnancy.  I didn't follow the Brewer diet to a T, but I was salting my food and trying to get 80-100g of protein a day.  I really attribute this to helping me keep my BP in check. But I've read in a few places now that the Brewer diet (or other really high protein diets) lead to enormous babies.  I did grow a 10 and a half pounder, so there's that.  I am also a vegetarian, so my main sources of protein come from beans, soy products (I don't buy into the whole anti-soy arguments as a general FYI), brown rice, etc.  I can't imagine what kind of linebacker babes I would grow if I ate's kind of scary.  I don't want to limit protein intake next time and have my blood pressure skyrocket (or, you know, not grow a healthy baby because protein is important to a pregnant woman and her developing baby), but again, I really, really don't want a large baby.  Good thing I have time to wrestle with this one
  • This week, I "hired" the official Tweeter/documentarian for my next birth.  She is also a client of K and B and we are like peas in a pod.  It is very rare for me to click with people right off the bat--wait, let me rephrase that.  I do click with people right off the bat, but inevitably, it turns into a situation where I realize I am not compatible with them and then it's a whole awkward mess.  I met J and we hit it right off and I can tell we are just birthy friend, and friendy friend, soul mates.  She's funny a la me (wink wink), totally not birth judgy, and just really supportive and kind.  I really hope she will be able to come to my birth.  We also have both been toying with the idea of becoming childbirth educators, so that is another thing we have in common.  She'll have to observe a birth or two anyway to get her certification and I think it would rock major socks if mine were one that counted towards her certification.  Then, we can go into the CBE business together and trot happily off into the sunset, eating rainbows and pooping butterflies

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When options really aren't options

The other day, I was talking with a close friend about, what else? VBACing.  Said friend has also had 2 cesareans--her last baby was a planned VBAC attempt, but had to be delivered via cesarean at the last minute.  She lives in a notoriously VBAC unfriendly state, and now with 2 c/s, she really only has two options--homebirth or repeat cesarean.  But how much of a choice is this really? This friend's husband feels more comfortable in a hospital.  And, while she would like to try to have a natural birth, she would also like to have the option to have pain relief should she feel she need it.  But because of where she lives, she doesn't have that choice.  Her only choices are to birth at home--without access to pain relief and with a partner who is not comfortable with the setting, or to consent to a repeat cesarean--she is educated on birth and knows this option is not without its risks as well.  This hardly seems like a fair choice to me.

I would go on about this, but B actually (once again) climbed into my brain and blogged my thoughts exactly, so here's her post on it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's never too early...

To start stocking up on supplies, right? And by supplies, I mean motivational bracelets.  I just got two Joan of Arc bracelets from the store at Bring Birth Home.  I had the picture from the site up here, but my photographer hubby told me I should take my own picture (have him take a picture) and post it when we get them.  You can click the link above and see them, though.  They say "I am not afraid" and "I was born to do this" respectively.  If they weren't $10 for the set, I would stock up on a few and gift them to Mama friends, but for now, I'm keeping them for myself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm doing it for my daughters

Part of the reason I even care so darn much about having a vaginal birth is that one day, I hope to have a daughter (come on, Jason, hit me with an XX next time!!!).  Even if I don't, I will (most likely) have one or more daughters in law in the future.  And I want them to know they can do it.

Sometimes, a CP will ask you if your mother (and/or grandmother) had vaginal births.  I used to smugly answer this question yes, automatically assuming this meant I would have one too.  My mother had 2 drug free births with me and my older brother and a vaginal, although with some medical interventions due to a higher risk pregnancy and delivery, with my youngest brother.  If I never have a vaginal birth, my daughter will have to answer this question "Well, no, but my grandmother did."   Then, what if she has a daughter and for some reason, has cesarean(s)?  Then her daughter, my granddaughter, will have to answer no to both questions. She may feel (or be made to feel) like she just wasn't destined to birth normally. And that would break my heart.

While part of me worries that it will play out this way if I never have a vaginal birth, part of me thinks that maybe precisely because I have scars, my children won't.  Maybe, even if I never get my VBAC, my hypothetical daughters will grow up hearing stories from the community of women I am surrounding myself with about women who did after one, two, three or more cesareans.  And maybe they will learn from the decisions I made that led to my first scar and not make the same mistakes I did.  Even outside the arena of birth, isn't that what we as parents want for our children?  Maybe she will look at how I never gave up, even if it never ends the way it does in my dreams, and know that no one can ever limit her to their idea of what birth should be like.

And maybe, just maybe, she will get to answer the question with, "My mother had two cesareans and then a home birth."  That would kick So. Much. Ass.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Practice in the art of being zen....

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to fixate on minor medical issues (or nonissues) and turn them into possibly life altering, maybe fatal, but most certainly disastrous, events.  I once had a yeast infection in college that I went to the ER for....twice.  Twice I was given Diflucan (which did not kill it thankyouverymuch), sent on my way, only to go home and play Dr. Google with myself and convince myself that my vagina was something like the girl's in the movie Teeth.  I eventually got some Monistat and it cleared right up, but there was a couple week period where I seriously thought my vagina was going to spontaneously dissolve into something resembling curdled cottage cheese and never work properly again.

Yesterday in the shower, I was soaping up along my stomach and I noticed a small, hard bump on the left side of my scar line.  I generally don't even get all up close and personal with the area around my scar because a) I have dunlap over my scar and that's kind of depressing and b) there is this weird, numb but still tingly feeling around it and in the area of my abdomen directly above and it kind of creeps me out to experience that sensation.  But yesterday I did and found this.  I consider it a major life win that I didn't drive myself to the ER for an ultrasound stat just to see what this was.  I actually rationally thought to myself "This is probably just some scar tissue that healed differently and it is most likely not going to affect my birth with T."  Then I texted B and asked her if she could stick her hand in my pants at the next ICAN meeting and see if she could tell what it was.  She is such a friend.  She also assured me that this is very common, so I was right with my first thought and doubly right in not incurring $19283894 in emergency room bills to tell me that everything was fine--besides, even if it were something that could possibly affect a future birth, what could be done anyway?

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I briefly entertained the idea that it was a fibroid that will grow massively large during my next pregnancy, obstruct the birth canal and require a cesarean.  But that was pretty fleeting.  Longer lasting, but still relatively short lived, was the fear that my placenta might see this as a great place to take up residence and complicate things.  I have a really hard time not fixating on potential placenta complications, but I think I did (am doing?) a pretty good job this time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

That was fun while it lasted....

I've now had two different people tell me about scares and surprise babies on VCF, so I am back to being celibate and praying I see blood in my undies very soon (although I also used spermicide, so I am sure we are OK). Only 2.5 more months of extreme paranoia, and then I can scale it back to mild paranoia--ok, moderate paranoia.  12 months PP will be mild paranoia, and 16 months PP+ will probably be kind of hoping for a baby.

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Giving Birth

Well, it happened again today--the question was posed whether a cesarean can or should be called a "cesarean birth."  Cue the natural birth fanatic mob descending to tell all us poor cesarean mothers that, while we mysteriously had these baby things removed from our bodies, we didn't actually give birth and the doctor delivered our children, justincaseyouwantedtocallitanythingelse, ok?  Followed by cesarean mothers giving justifications on why they had to have cesareans, how they feel so guilty about it and they wish things could have been different. Immediately followed by the benevolent "only ever had a baby out of my vagina and it just slid out painlessly and quickly because we "trusted birth" and you didn't" mothers patronizing to us poor, unfortunate souls who just weren't woman enough to get our babies out the vag.  Better luck next time--and make sure you do it vaginally and with no pain medication because that's how babies should be born.

Should.  I am really beginning to hate this word.  Since become entrenched in the natural birth and parenting world, it seems this word is mostly used to polarize women and create a weird sort of caste system amongst us.  At the top, you have the home/natural birthers and at the bottom, the cesarean mamas. Inbetween are sprinkled those who had pain medications (narcotics v epidurals v gas v what the hell ever), inductions, artificial labor stimulants, etc etc ad nauseum.

Birth should be powerful. Birth should be sacred.  Birth should be beautiful. Birth should be empowering.  None of those "shoulds" preclude a cesarean birth.

I think it's important that no one tells a cesarean mother how to feel about her birth, delivery, or whatever she wants to call it.  If you felt robbed of a beautiful birth, hurt by a lack of support or whatever, you deserve to get everyone's full support and understanding.  But at the same time, women who feel great about their cesareans shouldn't have people trying to make them feel poorly because their babies came to them that way.

I may not have all the answers on how to get my vaginal birth, but I know how not to get it.  And I won't get it by becoming so wrapped up in the end--a vaginal birth--that I don't focus on the journey to it.

And just in case you were wondering, I gave birth to both my sons.  Even the one I wasn't awake for.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

You get what you pay for

Well, I got the rest of my OPKs today...and by OPKs, I mean home pregnancy tests because that is what I ordered instead of OPKs apparently. Yesterday's shipment was actually only an order of 50 OPKs, so I was anxiously awaiting my other 100's arrival.  Well, I got them and I laughed hysterically when I realized my mistake.  Any TTCers out there looking for tests, let me know.  Deep, deep discount (free) on HPTs care of your favorite HBA2C hopeful blogger!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's Christmas!!!!

At least it sure felt like it when I opened my mailbox and found 100 of these bad boys in the box (the other 50 were ordered from a different Amazon seller and will be here later in the week presumably).  I seriously considered popping a squat right then and there.  It has been almost a year since I've peed on anything and, for me, that is far too long.  I am on CD 23 of a who knows how long cycle, but I'm guessing I am either a) way past O or b) way far from O so I'm not expecting a positive or near positive result, but I do plan on testing daily, especially since I still don't have my BBT.  My poor, sad little chart has 3 temps on it....I keep looking back at the chart for the month we conceived E, sighing and stroking the computer screen (kidding, but not really).

One thing I love about these tests is they came in a super, super low budget package.  I'm talking like a ghetto ziploc and a manila envelope, which I know keeps their operating costs down, which in turn keeps the cost to me down, so I can keep buying hundreds of these.  I really appreciate that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

VBAC is a whole nother ballgame

In a lot of VBACtivist literature and online forums, I often see women campaigning for VBAC to be called something along the lines of "normal birth" or "natural birth" after cesarean.  I understand why--for me, and a lot of other women, planning vaginal births after one or more cesareans is the norm, and categorizing what we are doing as "normal" or "expected" would do a lot towards shifting attitudes about VBAC safety.  But I think it's also important that we don't lose sight of the reality of the matter, even while we try to change things.  The truth is VBAC is a whole other animal than a vaginal birth in a first time mother or a mother who has no previous cesareans.  And I think it is imperative to educate VBAC hopeful mothers about things that could make a difference between having a successful VBAC (or a chance at one) or a RCS.

I met a new mom friend at the park who is pregnant with her second baby and would like to try for a VBAC.  She loves her OB--although she had pitocin, etc. during her labor, he didn't pressure her to induce around her due date, and he was going to "let" her try to push "even after" she had been "stuck" at 9 cm for a couple hours (oh man, there are a lot of quotes in that one....but you know why they're there).  Of course, we got all birthy and talked about her hopes for this birth--after our first meeting, I sent her an email about her options as a VBAC mom, of course trying to not be too biased towards home birth, but I totally gave her my midwives' names and websites.  I can't help myself.

In subsequent discussions, I have tried to gently broach topics that would be important to a VBAC mom--how far postdates her doctor is comfortable with her going, making sure she has an accurate guess date,  his induction policy for VBACs, etc.  Of course, loving her OB, and based only off her experience with him as a primapara with an unscarred uterus, she tells me how great he is about not pressuring her to induce early and how she's sure of her dates, etc.  But the truth is, it is a whole different world when you are a VBAC mom, particularly in Austin.  She has an 8 week appointment coming up, when she knows when they conceived and will actually only be 7 weeks.  It is so hard for me, in situations like this, to not scream at the top of my lungs to make sure her guess date is accurate in the records.  A week can make a world of difference for a VBAC mom in terms of pressure to induce if you haven't gone into labor by a certain date.  And if your guess date is off by a week, and you are either induced or RCS on an arbitrary date based off an inaccurate date, that is a week of crucial lung development time baby needs, not to mention the risks of inducing to a VBAC mom.

I think it would be great if we could normalize VBAC more.  It should be the case, absent other risk factors that would preclude a vaginal birth, that a mother with a previous cesarean have the best chance at a VBAC.  It is safer, statistically speaking, for both mother and baby.  But until that's the case--and care providers treat VBAC as such, without overly restrictive limitations that would compromise a VBAC that might otherwise be successful--we must educate women about what to expect from their care providers.  It is simply not the case, in many areas, that a VBAC mom will be able to expect the same treatment from her care provider as she would if she didn't have a scar on her uterus.  And maybe, just maybe, if we arm VBAC moms with all the resources and information they need to have their best birth, we would see more VBAC hopefuls become VBAC successes--that would really go a long way in the "normal birth after cesarean" movement.

Monday, April 11, 2011

No Pressure

Growing up with a father who was a doctor, I've always had a healthy respect for medicine and its ability to  heal.  In fact, up until E's pregnancy, anytime I would get a feeling, I would reach for a pharmaceutical drug. Cue B, who can pretty much take any ailment you have, find an herbal remedy for it in her expansive knowledge of holistic medicine, and cure you all naturally.  This is great for my pressures, since I can't be on drugs (like the Labetalol I took while pregnant with A) and be a candidate for a home birth.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my pressures since having E have been a little bit concerning--not high all of the time, but I would get high readings occasionally.  I mentioned this to B and she suggested adding a cayenne supplement into my diet.  So now, I am taking one cayenne pill along with one garlic pill twice daily.  Besides today (which put my new positive attitude to the test), my readings have gone back down to 120s/80s range consistently.  And, based on E's ravenous hunger, my milk hasn't been affected in the least. I still need to lose those 15 pounds, and since I have yet to conquer that sweet tooth, it looks like I will be upping my exercise regimen to accomplish this.  I hope to be down to an acceptable weight no later than 7 months PP and I wouldn't complain if I got there earlier....maybe if I make our weekly trip to Sugar Mama's a monthly one?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I have come to accept the loss of my BBT as permanent.  While I am still in mourning at its passing, and distraught that its remains have not yet been discovered, I went ahead and ordered another one.  Of course, same brand and look.  Yes, I know I can't "replace" my first one, but I'm doing my darndest.  I also ordered a million (ok, 150) OPKs from Amazon.  I really really love peeing on sticks and with breastfeeding, I just don't want to rely on temping alone just yet.  I am also trying to learn how to check my own cervix.  This is strange because I kind of have no idea what I'm feeling for or how to describe the feel/position/whatever you need to in order to put it on your chart, but I hope through practice, and with my copy of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by my side, I can become skilled in no time.

Why do I even care about all this with my 6 month vow of celibacy, you ask?  Well, ask K & B, who told me I had to start having sex again. Harumph! But, part of my resolutions with regards to T's pregnancy and birth, has been to always take the advice of my midwives (more on this later....mainly, this came to me when I was thinking back on E's birth and how I thought B was absolutely insane when she was telling me to rock my hips during labor).  So, it's back to marital relations and mini-panics on my part about getting pregnant too soon.

Right now, I am using Vaginal Contraceptive Film and spermicide together, although I am not exactly a super fan.  It seems to leave me a little itchy and (TMI, but really what else is this blog?) it makes it a lot messier to clean up.  Yeah, gross.  But I am not doing hormones again and even looking at a box of condoms gives me a yeast infection, so looks like this will be it for us for the time being.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Birthday Parties and Birth Stories go hand in hand

Just when I thought today would be my first day without a post since I started this blog, I went to a very sweet girl's first birthday party and got birthy with a few moms there.  So exciting.  Seriously, if you get me talking about vaginas, uteruses (uteri?), births, there is no stopping me. Mom of the birthday girl is pregnant with her second, as is her sister. Sister and I got to talking about birth--she is a first time mom planning a birth center birth.  Love that!! We got to gossiping about Ina May, rectal pressure (seriously, I have got to let that go!), big babies, birthing stools and on and on.  I loved it.  I also loved that when we talked about E being a c/s, there was none of the usual follow up commentary.  Both Mom of the birthday girl and Sister were so so so awesome about it, just asking what happened without judgment, and not even a shocked look passed when I mentioned planning another home birth with T.  

Today almost makes up for my accidental discovery of Dr. Amy late last night (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT NAME!).  My bubble of peace got a tiny little nick in it, but today was the start of me getting it patched up.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Growing Pains

I'm convinced both of my births have greatly shaped who I am as a person today.  For some people, having a baby is just that...they have a baby, it's wonderful, but the birth doesn't really change them.  Both of mine completely reformed who I was as a person at both those times in my life and afforded room for great personal growth.  But growing sucks sometimes.

Part of what gives my births meaning--aside from the two awesome kiddos I got out of them and the great experiences they were for me personally--is being able to share what I learned with some of my friends who have not yet had children, or who are pregnant but have not yet given birth.  But I am really struggling--I mean struggling--to share what I've learned and not feel upset when I feel it's totally ignored.  Particularly, I'm talking about the induction issue.  I know, I know, I know every woman is going to do what they are going to do after discussion with their doctors and deciding what is best for them, but it is so so so hard for me to hear story after story of my friends going in for inductions when I know what happened after my own.  I guess it just makes me feel like what I'm saying is not valued?  And I know it's nothing personal, and I am sure my doulas felt the exact same way about me when I told them about my own induction with A 3 years ago, but I am really just struggling with this right now.

Maybe these are really all just learning experiences for me.  Maybe each time I hear about an (elective) induction, it is the Universe's way of saying "OK, gently share your experience and what you've learned, but then we are going to practice letting go and moving on."  Because really what else can I do?!

I think I need to meditate.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Books, books, books....

So, I placed a book order today.  I am loving building up a library of these kinds of books.  I hope to pass them on to a daughter one day, or if not, to my daughters in law.  I chose "Baby Catcher" after it was recommended here :) and finally got Ina May's Guide to Childbirth--I read this when I was pregnant and thought it was great, and I will be glad to have a copy! I also got Ina May's new book "Birth Matters." I am super, super excited to read this one and I swear, I didn't know about it when I wrote my very own blog post with the same title.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ask me about E's birth when you have a few hours....

After E's birth, I really dreaded going out and about with him while he was brand new.  I knew exactly what would happen.  Cooing over the baby, asking how he sleeps, and the big was he when he was born.  I hate, hate, hate this question.  And I don't hate it because of the question itself, but what inevitably comes after.  This is what a conversation looks like:

Them: "Oh, he's so tiny and sweet."
Me: "Yes, he's an angel." pleasedontaskabouthisweightpleasedontaskabouthisweightpleasedontaskabouthisweightpleasedontaskabouthisweight
Them: "How much did he weigh?"
Me: &!^@!^%@%!**@&!(#&(!#@&#&!(@*#&((&!#(&#!!!$@^@% "Ten and a half pounds."
Them: "My gosh! Was he a cesarean?!?!" (or some variation on this)
Me: @&^!%@%&!^@!(&@*&@^*!@&*!&@*^! "Yes."

Don't get me wrong.  I love, love, love E's birth story.  If I could afford to, I would print out a million copies of it and hand them out to strangers who pass me on the street.  But I absolutely hate when (most) people ask me about the method of delivery.  And this is why.  I am going to quote a woman named Kristina, whose comment I read on this blog post.

"It's not just an outcome, it's a whole process and experience.  When people ask you questions that reduce it to just the outcome it is rude, inaccurate, insensitive and not their place."

E's birth isn't really about the 5 or 10 minutes it took the doctor to perform the cesarean and deliver him.  E's story is about at least a year of preparation that began before conceiving him.  It is about the hours upon hours I sat with my midwives preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for his birth.  It is the almost 2 days I labored with him.  And yes, it is also the cesarean delivery.  And the triumph I felt afterwards.

But no one is really asking about that when they ask if he was a cesarean. What they are saying is "My goodness! Of course there is no way a woman can deliver a baby of that size vaginally."  And sometimes I really, really want to follow up with the story of my friend Lauren who HBACd her 10lb2oz son or the countless other women who have done it with much bigger babies, but I know they don't really care.  And that bothers me because it reduces E's birth to an outcome and ignores the experience.

So next time someone asks me about E's birth, I will ask them if they're sure they have a couple hours to spare.  Not really, I'll do the same thing I did above and then come vent about it on my blog.  But I would like to do the first thing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trimming the fat

Girl you look good, won't you back that thing up? You'se a big fine woman, won't you back that thing up?

When I was just a young chit in my early 20s with naught a care in the world, I used to *love* to exercise. 5 AM Yoga then an evening workout followed by a 3 mile run surewhynot?  My body was sick, y'all.  But then I caught a husband and stopped caring for awhile, my body went a little soft, I got pregnant, had a baby, got depressed and got fat.  Really fat.  I mean, I'm not going to call anyone out, but I was told on one occasion that my legs looked like redwoods.  

When I quit feeling sorry for myself and started losing weight, I got back into exercise.  Don't get me wrong, I have never gotten back to that crazy young thing who could workout for 2 or 3 hours in a 24 hour period.  It's more like my husband gets home and I drag myself up the stairs to do a half hour on the treadmill or a workout DVD while I question why on Earth I'm doing it again.  Isn't "chasing a toddler around" and breastfeeding enough to do it like all the magazines would have you believe? Ummm, not for me.  I need to lose at least 15 (I wouldn't complain about 20) pounds, and maintain it for some time, before I get pregnant again. Some women can absolutely be overweight and be totally healthy.  But for me, my blood pressure and weight are closely related.  My pressures are awesome the less I weigh, and I need my pressures to remain low for me to remain low risk.  So I suck it up and I do it.  Plus, my pressures immediately after working out are about what I would expect if I were comatose--it's pretty awesome.

And sometimes, when I'm really getting into it, I start shadow boxing and pretend I'm duking it out with my fears.  Think that's weird?  Wait until I write them down on paper, suspend them from the ceiling in front of the treadmill so I can actually punch them.  

My primary focus used to be hitting a magic number--be it a weight or a size of clothing.  But midwifery care--at least the awesome care I got--has this crazy side effect....making you feel ridiculously good about yourself. Imagine going to a meeting with girlfriends every month (then two weeks, then weekly) and spending an hour hearing how fabulous you look, how your skin is glowing, your body is strong and healthy and how pretty you are.  It's awesome, y'all.  Those 7 pounds you put on?  You wear them better than any other pregnant woman in the history of the Universe.  

So now, it's not about those tiny little jeans I kept as a reminder from my youth, but about being as healthy as I can be for myself, T, A and E.  So, I'll keep dragging myself up those stairs at least 3 (working up to 4, and then hopefully 5 and 6!) times a week, putting in my half hour, visualizing my perfect birth and kicking the crap out of my tigers as I go. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

What does it mean to "elect" a cesarean?

The comments on yesterday's post really got me thinking about what it means to have an elective cesarean. Of course, there are times--prolapsed, cord, complete placenta previa, transverse lie, etc--when a cesarean is absolutely indicated.  Then there are times when, on a doctor's advice or for her own personal reasons, a woman may choose a cesarean when one of these absolute indicators is absent.

I have to admit, I never really knew what the exact medical reason behind A's cesarean was.  At one prenatal during E's pregnancy, I asked my midwives and they showed me in my medical records that A's delivery was recorded as an elective primary cesarean. WHAT?!?!  That is not what I remember from his birth.  What I remember is my doctor telling me that my pelvis was absolutely too narrow, my induction didn't work and it probably wouldn't, that we could try again but the baby would probably get stuck and I would require an emergency cesarean. Sure, knowing what I know now, I absolutely would not have consented to the cesarean.  But with the information I had then, and being told that I basically would be endangering my baby's life, I consented to the cesarean.  And it was elective.

E's cesarean was medically indicated, and even though I consented to the cesarean, I absolutely do not consider it elective.  I want to be sure that I am completely clear with everyone reading this blog.  I really would love for T to be born vaginally.  However, if at any point during my pregnancy or labor it becomes clear that a cesarean is the safer route for me or baby, I will 100% without hesitation march myself into that OR, climb on the table and have a cesarean.  And K and B will attend my HBA3C.  My primary goal in all of my pregnancies and births is to have a safe, empowering pregnancy and delivery--a vaginal birth would be wonderful, amazing, beautiful, every positive word I can think of.  But so would a cesarean under the same kinds of circumstances as E's birth.  The reason I am even considering a HBAMC is because based on the research I've done, it is safer for me to attempt a vaginal delivery than to consent to an ERC for no other reason than I have been sectioned before.  If another reason does arise during my pregnancy or labor that would make a cesarean a safer method of delivery for myself or T, then that is what I will consent to. And it won't be elective.

I hope I am also clear in that, while I really do encourage women to explore all their options with regards to the delivery of their children including home birth, VBAC/HBAC, etc, I am completely supportive of whatever decision a woman makes regarding the delivery of her children.  Her birth is not my birth and vice versa--I only care that she has all the information she needs to make what she feels is the best decision for herself and her baby.  I feel like I am being a little redundant in saying this, but I also want to make sure there is no misunderstanding my position.  I believe a woman is empowered when she feels respected, heard and validated throughout the birthing process--and that is what matters to me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Power of Words

Before I tell this story, I want to be sure that I am clear in one thing.  I adore the OB who delivered E.  Adore.  He was warm, kind, gentle, never rushed with me in our postpartum visits, he complimented my cervix, he let me know he understood my desires for a home birth, etc etc.  I don't have one complaint about him--he really was so key in helping me gain trust in obstetricians again.

But when I went to my first postpartum visit in his office, his nurse called me back, flipped through my chart and said "Oh, that's right. You were the failed VBAC."  Obviously she just recently graduated valedictorian from Sensitivity U.  I simply replied with "hmmmm," but what I was really thinking was that there was nothing "failed" about my birth.  I labored for hours (and hours and hours and hours) with E, when it became clear that I couldn't continue at home, K & B transferred me quickly, the doctor monitored me for a little bit and when it was determined that a cesarean was best, E was delivered quickly and safely, with my consent.  That birth was all winning in my book.  I didn't really feel like going into all that with her--I think "hmmmm" covered it, and I'm pretty sure she knew what I meant. :)

But it really got me thinking (and maybe I over analyze because I majored in English as an undergrad....words are kind of my thing), but I have only really ever heard "failed" used in a woman's birth in regards to cesareans. Bear with me here.  One common reason for a section is "failure to progress."  Then we have the "failed VBAC."  So, what kind of message is this sending to women?  Fail has a horribly negative connotation, right? So when you say to a woman that she had to be sectioned because her body failed, or that a repeat cesarean was necessary because she failed at a VBAC, it really can have the potential to color her perception of her body and its abilities.  And I wonder---if I had just been a homebirth transfer, with no prior cesareans, and had a vaginal birth, if she would have said "Oh, that's right.  You were the failed homebirth."  Or if I transferred and had a VBAC, same thing.  I doubt it.

I think we need to take the word "failed" out of the lingo surrounding birth.  It would really do a lot of good if things could be reframed in a more positive way.  Because I had such an amazing birth with E, the "failed VBAC" comment rolled off my back, but if that same thing had been said to me after A's birth, I'm sure I would have been crushed.

So let's be careful of what we say and how we say it---you never know how your words will impact someone.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mind Tapped

I'm pretty sure B crawled into my brain, picked through my thoughts and then wrote a love letter to my soul.  She is back to blogging (yay!) and the past couple days, she has been writing about "VBAC and the art of letting go." 

Remember that little list of things I made of what I need to get or do before our next pregnancy & birth?  The list that included chiropractic care, Mayan abdominal massage, etc?  Note B's first post on VBAC....yes, she recommends these things, but they aren't necessary for a woman to achieve a VBAC.  I got regular chiropractic care with E, but I still had a cesarean, so I know for a fact that chiropractic careVBAC.

I also love that she recommends getting OK with having another cesarean.  I really struggled with this throughout my pregnancy with E, and I really believe it held up my labor.  As soon as I had my little mini-meltdown about my long labor, the possibility of a transfer and another cesarean, and never wanting to have another baby if I had another cesarean, my body ramped it up and got into serious birthing mode.  I really needed to confront that tiger (get it?) before I could work to birth my baby.  And confronting that fear, and in fact realizing it with another cesarean delivery, was exactly what I needed to do.  E's birth opened my eyes to a world of caring doctors and compassionate hospital staff--ones who really validated my feelings, realized how important my birthing experience was and respected me.  Everytime I think of E's birth, I think of all the blessings that came out of it and I'm filled with love all over again.

Having said all this, I will be adding something to this list and that is a new mattress.  YES, I absolutely do need a new mattress before my next birth.  And just in case you were ever considering purchasing a mattress online, don't.  

Yes, I realize my font is funky.  I made that silly not equal sign in Word and it totally messed up the rest of the post.  I have no idea how to fix it, so I've decided it gives my blog character. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

ICAN Meeting Tomorrow!

I'm so very excited for our monthly ICAN Meeting!!!  For anyone reading this in the Austin area, please join us at the Carver Library at 10:30 AM tomorrow, Saturday, April 2.  This week we are discussing questions to ask your care provider.  This topic is so very important because making sure you have the right support is crucial not only for VBAC, but really any pregnancy.

And I feel like I should make it clear to anyone who attends our meetings that I will never, ever divulge anything said in confidence about anyone else's birth or feelings surrounding their births or future pregnancies on this blog.  Any discussion of what is said at our ICAN meetings will only involve generalities and my reflections on the topic discussed.

If you aren't already connected to the ICAN in your area, get involved! Even if you can't make monthly meetings, ICAN has wonderful information, resources and forums full of support as you continue on your own personal journey.

April is Cesarean Awareness Month!

I kind of want to bake a cake to celebrate cesarean awareness month. Actually, I just want to bake a cake so I can eat it.  I'm still off the soda and my sugar intake has taken a major hit.

I never in a million years thought cesarean awareness month would be something I would care about.  My mother had 3 vaginal births, two completely natural, and her mother also had vaginal births.  I just assumed I would follow suit.  Well, as I now know, few things in life are as humbling as pregnancy and birth.  Perhaps due to my lack of education on normal pregnancy and birth with my first son, I was set down the road I am now--still, I am so grateful both my births happened just the way they did and I am grateful for the compassion and sensitivity I have learned on my journey through them.

Over the next month, I plan to post a new cesarean/VBAC fact each day on my facebook status to hopefully get some women--maybe even some who are not even pregnant yet--thinking.  I recently (as in yesterday) thought of a funny and catchy slogan for childbirth education courses should I become a certified CBE--what do you think of "I went through it so you don't have to?"

I also plan to spend the month celebrating all that I have learned personally and through the amazing community of women with whom I have built connections.  Most of all, I just plan to spend the month reflecting on all the things I have to be thankful for.

First, for my beautiful family.  My two sons, whose radiant innocence and uninhibited joy inspire me to be a more positive and better mother.  My husband, whose unwavering support on this journey has allowed me to explore all of my options for the births of our future children.  An amazing provider, husband, father, birth and life partner.

For my wonderful midwives, truly the sisters of my heart, whose unfailing faith in me gives me the strength and courage I need to continue to pursue my dream of vaginal birth after multiple cesareans.

For the other mothers whose lives have been touched by cesareans and who work through untold physical and emotional baggage on their journey to VBAC or CBAC.

For other natural minded mothers who have not had cesareans, but who have expressed support and compassion for me as I go down the road to HBAMC.

For compassionate doctors, who respect their patients and work hard to allow women to have empowering birth experiences, no matter the method of delivery.

For cesarean sections, which often save the lives of babies and mothers.

For VBAC, which can provide unmeasurable healing.

And for the readers of this blog, who care enough to take time out of their day to read my sometimes rambling thoughts on the subject, and who I know will support me throughout my next pregnancy and delivery.

Thank you.