Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peer Pressure

Two posts? On two consecutive days? You guys must be pretty special or somethin'.

Today, I come with a more controversial topic. Today I come with society's view on natural birth. I will be the first to admit that I imagined myself "giving birth the way God intended- strapped to the table, numbed from the neck down" as Blanche Devereaux states from the Golden Girls (Secretly my husband's favorite show).

However, as I did my research and scoped out my options, I realized that maybe that wasn't what I wanted. I realized I wanted something far less scary than a hospital. I made up my mind that we were going to have a natural birth in an out-of-hospital setting. Enter the critics and nay-sayers (AKA the hospital staff and everyone else) who looked at me wide-eyed and confused when I told them I needed my medical records because I was going to see a Midwife. I didn't think it was too strange at the time, because that's the profession they were in and anything else just didn't seem to make sense to them. 

Fast forward to this morning. This morning I was able to make it to Nick's school's regional competition for MESA. At this competition, I was able to meet a few parents and his co-worker. Nick mentioned in conversation to one of the parents that we were expecting and planned to have a natural birth. The woman, I SHIT you not, covered her mouth in horror. No lie. You can't make this stuff up. She started making remarks like, "Oh my gosh, more power to you! That's great but, you're doing it in the hospital, right?" Now, I could have said yes, and ended it there; but I decided I wanted to see how far her foot could go down her throat. I explained there was a beautiful birth center in our area and we planned to go there for the birth. For some reason she could not understand why someone would want to do this. "But, to me... that's what hospitals are for..." I wanted to scream to her "NO hospitals are for people who have been impaled or shot or NEED medical intervention! Nothing about a normal pregnancy needs medical intervention!" But I bit my tongue and told her to rest easy and that it was choice we made for several different PERSONAL reasons. This woman was really sweet and wonderful to talk to, just this...I could not believe. I chuckled to myself about the conversation for the rest of the day but then it hit me like an eighteen-wheeler at about 8 pm how much it really bothered me. 

Why had society took something so wonderful and precious and beautiful and turned it into something that women dread and are terrified of? Why did America feel the need to bring in doctors and hospitals to the equation when the way it had been done for centuries was perfectly fine? And then it clicked: the almighty dollar. If hospitals and doctors could find a way to get everyone into the hospital, that's more money for the insurance companies and more money for the doctors. So how did they convince 98% of the population that birthing was the only way to go? They scared women shit-less of childbirth. With a 40% C-section rate and a 50% epidural rate, the numbers speak for themselves. What do people think of when they think of giving birth? Blood, screaming, pain, tearing. Why? Because that's what TV and the industry has fed to us over the years. I'm not here to try to persuade anyone into or out of the hospital, I'm just trying to get to the bottom of society's outlook on natural birth. 

It makes me sad that so many women have not been able to experience this and I really hope that books like Your Best Birth  and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth  can get the word out; because America's view on Childbirth is unlike that of ANY other country in the world. And it's really sad. 

Although I know this is common sense and should be inferred, I'll put a disclaimer:
I am aware that not everyone has the chance to experience natural birth due to several medical conditions and unforeseen complications that may arise. For these high-risk pregnancies and unforeseen circumstances, thank God we have OB's and the technology to measure fetal distress and C-sections. 

Back Pain (read: why yoga saved my life)

At about 10 o'clock each night, after Nick and the puggle go to sleep, our living room turns into a pitch black cave. Furniture is moved to accommodate my yoga mat and large wingspan. Sarah Ivanhoe comes into my living room and I am removed from the physical world. Rhythmic breathing and challenging poses put me into a trance like no other. I go into the practice with a heavy heart, back pain, and sour attitude from the day and after an hour of practice feel ready for bed and completely cured from everything. I had always been a strong yoga follower and practiced each morning with the sun, however, the knowledge of another being inside of me makes it even more special to me somehow. Like I'm doing my little one a favor. Perhaps the fact that it washes away the stress of the day makes it better for the pregnancy? Who knows, it just makes me feel more strong about practicing consistently than ever. 

Speaking of yoga, I have the crusty picture I promised everyone.I just need to warn you before scrolling any further that (to my defense) it was taken after an hour of hardcore yoga. 
Now, let me show you something else in an attempt to make myself feel better. There is this "double bump" thing that apparently happens to us preggos right before we're going to explode from all of our normal clothes and feed the economy by buying maternity clothes for $100 bucks per pair of pants. Since our uterus shifts from the lower abdomen up to the mid-section during this time (relieving stress off the bladder, thank you Lord!) we get this weird double bump. Let me show you what I mean:
Yeah... now you see it. Moving on!
Our little one is now a plum! D'awww :) The morning sickness had subsided but I have also found that eating dinner and anything past it doesn't sit well. Also, back pain and dizziness have made their entrance as well as daily round ligament pain. 
Until next time!

157 lbs
34.5 inches

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When Life Gives You Limes...

Make Guacamole! Okay so maybe that didn't work as perfectly as "limeade" would have, but it seems that lately I cannot get enough avocado. I put it on sandwiches, in salads, on crackers, and most definitely guacamole. Bringing us to our update for this week.
Our little one has officially graduated to a fruit that this lady can visualize. Hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago he/she was only the size of an olive. 

Other than that, there's really nothing new to the equation. My morning sickness has seemed to calm down leading my body to think that eating popcorn for breakfast is acceptable... however in place of it have come some other not so attractive pregnancy ailments such as severe back pain all.the.time., swollen everything, round ligament pain, and the "obviously pregnant but just looks like I had one too many beers to strangers" belly. Yes, what I thought may have been just bloat is the beginning of 28 more weeks of a growing belly. With that said, I promise a picture on Sunday.

157 lbs

Thursday, March 17, 2011

OB vs Midwife Decision

If you remember from my last post we were struggling with the pros and cons of an OB delivery in the hospital vs a midwife delivery in our local birth center. Both seemed to have their fair share of positives and negatives. Here are the lists I was able to come up with for both:

First for the Hospital's list:
Many Cons, not a good deal of Pros. For the BC list:
What do we see here? (Besides a hormonal pregnant woman trying to rationalize what society makes seem wrong) We see MANY more pros than cons. I knew when I walked in to the Birth Center today and they told me to "empty your bladder for comfort" instead of "provide a urine specimen" that I was sold. Not only was I spared having to piss in a cup for once, but I was handed my own medical folder and a pen and told to weight MYSELF, with no one else around. They trusted that I knew how to get on a scale and read numbers and to be honest as I wrote it down on my chart. In my own hand-writing with MY own terms. Then, get this! I was even trusted to take my own blood pressure (GASP!) and record that for them too. My folder's content wasn't a secret from me. In fact, it was written by me. All of the content had been written on my chart by me. They treated me like a grown woman who knew how to handle simple tasks and I was thrilled. 

Look at me, gushing about this place and we hadn't even been taken back by the midwife yet. You know how in the OB/GYN office you sort of just "pick" a doctor. You see that doctor every single visit and maybe even develop a relationship with him/her. You go through your pregnancy thinking how wonderful it will be to have doctor so-and-so deliver your child because he/she knows you and is willing to stick to your birth plan. Then, you go into labor and your doctor isn't on call. You end up meeting a stranger for the 2 hours or so that you push, and then they disappear. Never to be heard from again. In the Birth Center we're using, you see a different midwife each week. This way by the time you give birth you know each Midwife, no matter which one is on call at the time, and no one is uncomfortable with each other. 

Naturally, Nick and I went into this appointment not knowing what to expect and had lots of questions. We saw Jessica for this appointment and her answers to our questions made us feel so much better. It was also comforting to us that our hour and a half long appointment wasn't rushed and that most of our appointments would take about that long, if not longer. Midwifery is more than just childbirth. It's about mentally and physically training yourself to get there. Call them therapy sessions if you will.

Baby's heartbeat today was at a strong 160 bpm, up from the 150's on Monday. But my blood pressure and pulse were also up from 98/44 on Monday to 129/64 today. Probably just nervous/excited. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week 11

Today starts week eleven; meaning a new fruit!

Although a prune might not be the most attractive fruit to imagine our fetus being, It's exciting to be able to go to the grocery store and go, "Honey, Look! Our baby!" 

Not much has changed this week. According to the scale, I'm down another pound; yet my growing belly is saying the opposite. Luckily since I've lost a lot of weight recently my pants still fit, but I'm noticing that my shirts are getting a little too tight around my lower belly. 

Nick and I have an appointment on Thursday to interview a midwife at a birthing center. After hearing the horror stories of pitocin and cervadil used all to commonly in hospitals across the country and the horrifying C-section rate at our OB's hospital (36.2%), I decided if I wanted a natural birth it would be best to start the interview process for midwives in our area. I'm hoping that this birthing center is our answer, because this emotional battle with myself over hospital vs birthing center is just that, a battle. For anyone interested in what I'm talking about, I highly recommend watching the movies The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America. 

More to come next week on our decision!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

So....I'm the Dad...

....and I just found out I get to blog, too.  How exciting!  I'll check in every once in awhile to offer the "dad's perspective" on all this.

Finding out I was going to be a dad was, at first, very scary.  Now, I find myself getting more excited by the day!  There's so much to do in the next few months - I don't know where to start!

I'll say this - we're excited to be sharing our journey with all of you - the good times and the (hopefully few and far between) bad times.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Finally, something real

Sorry I didn't have a 10 week post for everyone but I really wanted to wait until after our appointment so I could include an u/s picture! Our little guy/gal is the size of a "medium green olive" this week :D

And for the u/s picture:

The head is clearly visible, though the rest just may seem like a blob to the rest of you. To me, however, my little one is in "starfish position" legs and arms sprawled out to the side in all directions. If you look closely you can see the arm and leg nubs. How exciting?! Nick was able to make it to the sonogram today and saw our little baby kicking it's legs and we saw the heart beating at an amazing 160 beats per minute. My mother has already started going on about it being a girl due to the high heart rate. As long as it's healthy, I don't care. 

Today the ultrasound tech also informed us that our due date is October 9th now, not October 7th. Instead of starting a new week on Fridays, I'll just be starting a new week on Sundays now. No biggie. The due date could have been off by something awful like a week!

160 lbs