Archive for October, 2009

October 26, 2009

a few more words on birthing

1) i want to assert that i do not feel inadequate because of my birth experience.  i do not feel like a failure.  i hope it didn’t come off that way, as that was not my intention.

2) my previous birth is what it is;  i can’t change anything about it now and i’m fine with that.  what i can change, however, is my mindset about the birth and labor process going forward with this pregnancy, and that is pretty exciting.

3) i would have liked for my labor to have progressed differently, but the outcome of a c-section birth and a vaginal birth are the same. i have a healthy baby and i wouldn’t change that for the world.

4) i don’t really believe that i didn’t give birth in the literal sense.  that statement and my reaction to it is really just an argument of semantics that i had never even thought of before.  the labor and delivery are just a tiny little piece of the puzzle.  the previous 40 weeks of creating a human and the lifetime that follows are the important parts.  philosophically, it is an interesting debate but in the grand scheme of thing it really doesn’t matter.  at least not to me.

okay, now that’s like 1,700 words about birth…i think that’s enough for now.

October 26, 2009

1,500 words about giving birth, or maybe not

a lot of women approach labor with detailed birth plans.  my birth plan with avery was “i don’t want a c-section, but beyond that i haven’t really got a clue.”  this is not how it worked out.  at all.

let me tell you a little story….

i had a doctors appointment the day before avery was born. i was 3 days overdue, it was late august and the daily temperature was hovering around 100 degrees, i was impatient, miserable, and anxious to meet my daughter.  at my appointment the midwife asked if i would like her to strip my membranes.  “will it start labor?” i asked.  yes?  maybe?  go for it!

for those of you who are unfamiliar with labor-inducing techniques, let me give you a little tutorial on membrane stripping.  first the doctor or midwife sticks her hand far enough up your hoo-haa that you pray she’s not wearing a wristwatch, then she sweeps her finger around the inside lip of your cervix, separating it from the amniotic sac that holds the baby.  this process stimulates the production of prostaglandins which are the hormones that kickstart labor. it’s even less pleasant than it sounds, believe me.  if it works, labor starts within 24 hours.  if it doesn’t work? well, you just got fisted for no good reason.

i’m telling you this because i have a sneaking suspicion that this intervention was partly responsible for the fact that i ended up with a c-section.

my membranes were stripped at 4pm, my contractions began in earnest at 2am the next morning.  by 7am we were at the hospital.  by 10am i was progressing nicely (at about 6 cm) and i begged for an epidural.  sometime that afternoon, i’d guess between 2 and 4pm – the day is a little hazy, i was pretty out of it – things started going downhill.  avery’s heart rate kept dropping every time the doctor or nurse checked my progress and every time they flipped me to my left side.  then my blood pressure plummeted.  my blood pressure is typically on the very low side – 100/60 is pretty standard for me – but it dropped way down into the hypotension, loss-of-consciousness zone.  six nurses rushed in with a syringe full of epinephrine which they jammed into my thigh, and a syringe of terbutaline to halt labor.  they took my temperature and discovered it had spiked close to 104, and drew blood and tested it to find that my white blood cells were in overdrive.  clearly, i had developed some sort of infection, later determined to be chorioanmionitis, a bacterial infection of the uterus.  a suppository of tylenol, delivered rectally (who knew that this could be done?!) and an IV of powerful antibiotics were administered STAT.  i was still hoping to avoid a c-section so the doctor agreed to start a drip of pitocin to restart labor.  my uterus wouldn’t cooperate because it was all jacked up (i’m sure there’s a more technical medical term) from the inflammation of the infection, and avery’s heart rate continued to drop with every contraction.  i was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room just before 7pm.  avery was born via c-section at 7:10.

so why am i telling you all this medical history?  well, i’m no doctor, but the bacteria that caused the infection had to be introduced into my uterus somehow.  i can’t help but wonder if the membrane stripping is partly to blame.  i asked my doctor about this at my six-week postpartum appointment; she adamantly denied any association between the two.  i still have my doubts, but what’s done is done and i can’t do anything about it now.  this whole experience has definitely impacted my thoughts on labor and birth with my second pregnancy, however.

for a long time after avery’s birth i didn’t really think that the c-section was a big deal.  i was so overwhelmed with motherhood, and so swept off my feet with love for my daughter that i didn’t dwell on the fact that i had just had surgery.  i healed remarkably well.  even the nurses who came to do a home-visit three days after discharge were in disbelief that i had had surgery six days prior; i was walking well, able to climb stairs, carry my baby, and breastfeed without overwhelming discomfort.  i was okay with the fact that my baby came into the world via c-section.  i told everyone that she came out of the window instead of the door, but she was healthy and that’s all that mattered.  i even entertained thoughts of having an elective c-section if we ever had another child, despite the fact that the one thing i had never wanted in the first place was a surgical birth.

but all that went out the window when i started thinking about baby number 2.  at some point i realized that the birth i had with avery was not the birth i had wanted.  i didn’t have a concrete plan in place before going to the hospital, but what i ended up with was not what i had hoped it would be.  it’s okay because she is healthy and happy, and that’s really all that matters, but there is still a part of me that feels a bit robbed of an experience and bummed that my labor experience was completely out of my control.  i want to have a different experience with my next labor.

i’m fortunate that my doctor is totally supportive of my choice to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) delivery since my c-section was not caused by a fault of my own anatomy or overall health.  it was a fluke.

my plan for labor this time goes beyond having a vaginal birth, though.  the most important thing for me is that i feel in control of the situation.  well, as in control as i can be; i know that i can’t dictate everything that happens. i’m reading as much as i can so that i can be empowered in my labor process.  i’ve been reading ina may’s guide to childbirth and spiritual midwifery, both by renowned midwife ina may gaskin, and birthing from within by pam england and rob horowitz.  these books are eye-opening, inspirational, and admittedly, a little frightening.  i’m not saying i want to have an unmedicated birth in the back of a VW bus with the support of patchouli-scented hippies, and maybe i’m not even going to attempt an unmedicated birth in a hospital with the support of a well-trained medical staff, (that epidural sure was nice last time) but i want to be educated in my options and be able to assert my intention to make my childbirth experience as enjoyable as possible.

in one of the books i read a passage that questioned whether women who have had a baby via c-section have actually “given birth” or if they just “had a child.”  does a woman have to actively pass a baby through the birth canal to give birth?  does this mean i have never given birth?  i’ve got a child, so clearly i have given life, but maybe in the philosophical sense espoused by the hippie free-birthers i simply had a baby.  who knows.  before reading this statement i had never even questioned the difference between giving birth and having a baby.  i was actually surprised that this notion of never giving birth ruffled my feathers, especially because for so long i was relatively unruffled by the fact that i ended up with a c-section at all.  i guess i just don’t want to be judged based on the way my kiddo came out of my body, even if those doing the judging have dreadlocks, wear hemp, and don’t shave their armpits.  it does inspire my desire to be an active participant in my upcoming labor and delivery though.  i want to give birth – even if i never knew that i hadn’t given birth last time – because it’s part of womanhood.  it’s what women’s bodies were made to do.

i’ve got six more months to prepare, and i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t a little scared of the whole thing.  i’m also excited though.  so, we’ll see how it goes.  i’d like to have my labor go according to plan, but even if i end up with another c-section i know it’s not the end of the world.  after it’s all said and done i’d like to say that i was able to give birth, but really i’m just excited to give life to another healthy, happy kiddo.

October 20, 2009

ain’t nothing more exciting than talking about potty training, right?

potty training.  potty learning.  whatever you call it, it’s not happening here.  i haven’t really pushed it because i don’t want to force my daughter before she’s ready, and yesterday she gave me a very obvious sign that she’s not ready.

i took her diaper off for a change and then told her to run naked for a while to air out.  “just tell mama if you need to go potty, okay?”

she looked at me, frozen in place.

“let me know if you need to go pee pee, baby.”

and then she wailed, “noooooooooooo!  i need a diaper!  diaper, please!”  only when she says “diaper” it comes out as “dahhhpyah” so it’s extra super cute even if she is howling.

okay.  cue, followed.  check.  not ready for a diaper-free tushie.

we bought her a potty at least six months ago and she’s used it successfully two or three times.  mostly she likes to sit on it for a nanosecond, wipe well, and flush the big potty.  actually sitting long enough to use it? not happening.  i don’t want to push it if she’s not ready, she’s only two months past her second birthday so it’s not like she’s way behind or anything, but i would love to have her out of diapers by the time the new baby comes.  maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

got any tips, momma friends?

October 18, 2009

i’m neurotic because…

i have many odd, ritualistic, OCD behaviors; most of which are around eating, sleeping, smells, and matters of hygiene.

i don’t eat seafood.  anything that comes from a lake, river, ocean, pond, or stream is strictly off limits.

ditto on red meat.

the smell of popcorn makes me ill, and it takes all my self-control to keep myself from dry-heaving.  this is especially true during pregnancy, and i’ve had to make a hasty exit from two different stores in the past week because of the smell.  (target, i’m looking at you.)

i cannot sleep without a thick slathering of rosebud salve on my lips.

i also cannot sleep without the aid of ambien, but that’s another story with a whole other list of neuroses.

my bedsheets have to be perfectly smooth, the covers have to be evenly weighted on all sides of the bed, and the pillows have to be precisely positioned every night.

i love pretty much all fruit, but i think papayas and persimmons are totally nasty.

scented laundry makes me want to vomit.  when i smell the neighbors’ dryer vent i want to knock on their door and hand them a bottle of free+clear detergent and box of unscented dryer sheets.

air fresheners, room sprays, scented plug-ins…also make me sick.

my nighttime flossing, brushing, rinsing routine can easily take 20 minutes.

i have an irrational fear of losing my teeth and needing dentures someday.

flossing is damn near orgasmic.  same goes for ear cleaning.

the list of foods i dare not eat is much longer than the list of foods i do eat.

when showering, i can only turn to my left when moving from front-rinse to back-rinse.  turning right feels all sorts of wrong and i have to turn immediately to the left to correct the imbalance i feel.

i have a super-spidey sense of smell.  we bought a used car months ago and i can detect the smell of the previous owner’s cologne on it still.  my husband insists that there is no scent whatsoever but i can smell it outside the car with the windows up and the doors closed.  drives me fucking nuts.

drinking water out of a glass skeeves me out.  i prefer to drink it out of a camelbak bottle.  even if it’s the exact same water.

October 16, 2009

throwing hay into the wind


October 16, 2009

fear in parenting

one of my greatest fears about being a parent is that somehow, someday, one of my children will screw up so monumentally that reports of his or her antics are preceded by the words, “we interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcasting to bring you this breaking news update.”  you do all you can to teach your children to make good choices, to prepare your children for a good life, but what do you do if your child becomes a pimp, drug addict, serial killer, school shooter, prostitute, republican lobbyist, or wayward helium balloon aviator?

the media coverage surrounding “balloon boy” is astonishing.  i didn’t even need to watch the news or listen to the radio to hear the updates; through the blessed power of social media, i heard of the incident by reading frantic twitter and facebook status updates.  “OMG there’s a boy in a balloon!  he’s on a crash course with outer space!  he plummeted to his death!  but wait!  the ballon was empty!  where the hell is he?”

i cannot imagine the terror his parents felt as they searched for their missing son, assuming he was sailing high above northeastern colorado corn fields in a homemade mylar balloon. they were probably fighting venomously, “how could you LET this happen?  you were supposed to be watching him!  i swear, you turn your back on him for one second and he takes off in a UFO!  this is all your fault!”  and then to find the downed ballon empty!  where could he be?  did he fall out? was he never in there in the first place?  where the hell is falcon?


in a box.

in the attic in the garage.

at home.

while the national guard and search crews are looking for him.

while Oprah has been interrupted so that news coverage can get every single detail as it happens

while air traffic from a major international airport is delayed because his balloon could drift into its airspace.

and instead of coming out of hiding when he heard his parents calling his name, he stayed hidden, allowing the panicked hunt to escalate to the national news, sending hundreds of patrol men and women on a wild goose chase to follow the balloon and start scouring vast land of tall grass and corn, searching for a little boy who may, or may not, have fallen out of his dad’s homemade UFO.

i’m sure his parents breathed a long sigh of relief to find their son alive and well, but also a twinge of “OHMYGOD what the HELL were you thinking?!”  maybe falcon didn’t screw up on purpose, maybe he was just playing a game of hide-and-seek gone wrong.  really wrong.  maybe it was just a prank.  maybe it was all a well-concocted shenanigan to get media attention on the family’s fancy flying machine.  but as a parent, your child’s behavior reflects on you, so i imagine his parents are wrestling with many very different emotions tonight.

if i were the parent in this situation, you can bet i’d be feeling relief, but also shame, gratitude towards those who helped in the fruitless search, embarrassment that my child’s antics were quickly brought to the attention of the national media when it really was not the big story the newsies were looking for.

i’m not in favor of spanking, but one might consider it when debating the proper punishment for a practical joke gone awry to such a monumental level.  shit, the news coverage of this event bumped Oprah and delayed air travel.  this kid is going to be feeling his parents’ wrath for some time, i imagine.

i don’t have a homemade UFO, so thankfully i won’t have to worry about that becoming my child’s specific monumental fuck up.  i still have to live in fear of the possibility of my baby becoming a republican lobbyist, however.  i better start preparing my shame and embarrassment now.  just in case.

edited to add: okay, his parents probably weren’t feeling terror when this incident took place.  they probably weren’t fighting venomously over whose responsibility it was to supervise the children and the balloon.  they probably didn’t even feel relief when their son was found because they had known all along where he was hiding.  he was never in the balloon.  this whole thing was a hoax.  so now, instead of the parents spanking the kid for his naughty behavior, i think all of america should get a crack at spanking the parents for concocting such an assbrained scam to get on a reality tv show.

October 12, 2009

just moved

i’m in the process of moving my blogger blog over here to wordpress.  i found blogger to be too cumbersome and confusing, wordpress is easier to manage.  i’ll be moving all my posts over here, and merging my two separate blogs into one.  keeping it simple, folks.  stick around, won’t you?  and please be patient while i figure out how to format everything so it looks nice, mmmkay?

October 11, 2009

i’m in a family way

back on august 11th, i wrote this. ten days later i took a pregnancy test and sweet baby jesus! it was positive. i’m now about 12 weeks along, expecting this baby to arrive at the end of april. so far this pregnancy has been quite different than my daughter’s. in my first pregnancy i was quite nauseous, plagued with morning, noon, and night sickness. i didn’t have much of an appetite, and nothing appealed to my sensitive stomach. this time i’ve had almost no nausea (thank goodness) but i’ve been more fatigued than i’ve ever been in my life. i want to eat everything, all the time, and then eat some more. maybe these differences mean it’s a boy? stay tuned.

October 11, 2009

if these babies could write, i’d ask for their autographs

so, OMG is pretty much the only way to sum up how cool this is.

my buddy kerry and her husband jeff are in the new york freaking times today, and their twin babies max and wes are on the goshdarn freaking FRONT PAGE! the accompanying article and video are also available online.
i wrote about kerry here and her baby shower here her boys’ arrival here. kerry and jeff’s journey to parenthood has been a long one; one that they didn’t anticipate would take three years, multiple doctors and medical procedures, and more money than the entire GDP of several developing nations combined. in the end, though, it was all worth it and they have two of the most adorable babies ever to crawl this green earth.
i am so excited for them and i hope this publicity brings light to the struggle of infertility. kerry and jeff have struggled, no doubt, but through it all they have remained positive and hopeful, and have also been inspirational to others who are dealing with fertility issues of their own.
now, if i can just hop on my soapbox for one quick minute….
some of the commenters on this article piss me the fuck off. clearly they have never struggled with fertility issues personally, nor have they known a friend or loved one’s struggle with fertility issues. the suggestion to “just adopt a baby” or “get over your need to have a genetically related child” or “there are millions of orphans available, why not just pick one of them” or “i’m childfree by choice and so should you” are so maddening. to those people, i want to shout a loud and heartfelt FUCK YOU. i know i am getting rankled because i know kerry and jeff personally and i know that their desire to have children was not just an “obsession” with getting pregnant. i know that the emotional turmoil for them was monumentally more troubling than the financial turmoil. and the pro-adoption view point?! that’s all well and good, certainly there are plenty of children out there who need loving homes. i believe adoption is a beautiful way to create a family, but to say, “wouldn’t it be easier to adopt?” is just such a naive, ignorant, dickheaded comment. it’s not like adoptive couples, those with and without fertility issues, can just go to the store and grab a baby off the shelf like you would a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. it’s not like someone can just say, “hmm, those naysayers are right. why don’t we just go and get ourselves a child” and POOF! instant baby. it’s not that easy. my brother and his wife adopted a beautiful boy from korea after dealing with their own fertility issues. they had to pay just as much money, take just as much time, and jump through far more hurdles and cut more red tape than anyone undergoing fertility treatments. it’s not a simple solution, and it’s not the solution for all couples. there is nothing wrong with someone making the choice to have their own biological child, if that’s the journey they choose to pursue.
i must stop now before my blood pressure sky rockets. i can only tolerate so much stupidity and ignorance before becoming enraged.
i don’t need to read the comments to know that kerry and jeff are amazing people with awesome little babies. i am so happy for them and the spotlight being shone on their story today. i’m proud to say “i knew you way back when.”