Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why I'm Choosing a Home Birth

(Please note - This is a heated subject for me and I may get off track and start ranting. This post will also be long. This is not a post made to put anyone down. I'm really trying to educate others so they can stand up for what they want and have the labor that every woman deserves.)

I am choosing to birth this next baby at home for several different reasons. 
1. Maternity care now a days is... to put it gently... lacking. 
2. I want to have a natural birth where I don't have to be constantly monitored, don't have to have an IV, I can move around as much as I want and in any position I want, I can eat and drink during labor, I make the decisions, I can labor on my own time frame and not the dr's, and I will not be pressured to do something I don't want to.
3. There will be no unnecessary interventions. (pitocin, epidural, forceps, c-section, etc)
4. I will give birth in a place I am comfortable, with people I love, with a midwife who is there the whole time, in a calm and loving atmosphere, and I never have to leave the house.

Let's compare how the maternity care OB's and hospitals give us today with the care midwives give...

You see your OB or their partners throughout your pregnancy (most likely you'll see multiple dr's), they'll come in and check your stats and leave before you have time to ask any questions (If you get the chance to ask them, it's not a lot of time or they'll have you ask the nurse.); they're likely to mention induction or stripping your membranes, many times doing it as early as 37-38 weeks.

2 out of 3 first time moms are induced. You'll go in either the night before or the morning of where you'll be monitored all night after they insert a drug (Cervidil or something similar) to start thinning your cervix; they'll start pitocin after a while, upping its dose as often as every half hour; they'll want to monitor the baby therefore leaving you to labor on your back in bed most of the time; you don't make much progress and the pain is unbearable so you ask for the epidural; you get relief but are then stuck to the bed being constantly monitored; nurses and the dr will check your dilation often; then one of four things will happen...
1. You'll be lucky and progress to fully dilated and push the baby out on your own.
2. You progress and push for an hour or more, dr uses forceps or vacuum, or they claim they NEED to do a c-section and give you the excuse that your baby is too big or that you just can't birth vaginally leaving you to believe that your body can't do what it was made to do.
3. Your labor slows with the epidural and you don't progress fast enough so the Dr claims they NEED to do a c-section with the excuse of Failure to Progress.
4. Your baby's heart rate slows and they rush in saying you NEED the c-section in order to save your baby.
(Note - it will go the same way for those who start labor on their own, starting with the pitocin part.)

Now, how many of you had one of those labors? I'll tell you, I had #1 for both of mine and I consider myself very lucky. I was induced with both, Cervidil, then pitocin, followed by the breaking of my water, epidural, and pushing them out in 10 and 3 minutes (See? LUCKY)

Here's how your midwife care will go...

You will either go to your midwife or they will come to your home for prenatal care; they will check you and baby and talk with you about your questions; you'll discuss a labor plan and they try to stick with it as best they can; during labor (either in your home or hospital) they will monitor baby as much or little as you would like (the same for checking dilation), let you move around and labor how you choose, and support you throughout the whole experience, never leaving your side; and after birthing your baby, they will let you spend time with the baby before bathing and weighing them. You will not be pressured to take pain medications and there will be no unnecessary interventions because they trust you and your body and know you can do it. If problems during labor do arise, they will try to fix them without the use of technological or medical interventions first. If the baby's heart rate is dropping, they will have you change positions to see if that helps. If you are slow to dilate, there are cervical massages or different relaxation techniques they will try. If they try everything, and it is not working, then a midwife will take more drastic measures (transfer to a hospital, pitocin, etc). Most midwives have a less than 5% c-section rate! (as compared to the 30+% nationwide for OBs in the hospital)

So you tell me truthfully, which kind of prenatal care and labor would you rather have?

OBs are trained to think of birth as a medical event, whereas midwives think of birth as a natural life event.

Birth IS natural and in a normal pregnancy, there is no reason a woman should not have the chance and time to give birth naturally. Dr's run on a clock and to them labor can not take more than 24 hours. If it goes over that, they get worried and most women end up with a c-section. Hence why they are pumping you full of pitocin to "speed things up". Let me clear something up for you... Many first labors last longer than 12 hours, even more than 24 hours. The main reason drs get concerned if your labor lasts longer than 24 hours is your risk for infections. You get infections by foreign things entering your vagina (nurses and your dr constantly checking your cervix for dilation). If checks are kept to a minimum, chances of infections are virtually non existent.

There is a reason midwives have such GREAT statistics when it comes to labors. To me, it really comes down to trust, care, and patience. They trust the laboring woman's body to give birth, they care about her and the baby's wants and needs, and they have patience and understanding the a baby will come when it is ready and all women labor in their own time frame. There is NO reason to rush a normal labor!

I've heard a lot of people say "Well of course the midwives have better stats. They have less patients so they're numbers are going to be lower!"
Yes, they have less patients (midwives attend less than 10% of births), but this is not the reason for lower induction and c-section rates!

Maternity care in the hospitals is a business. The more people they can get in and out of there, the better the business is doing. Time limits and c-sections are NOT THE ANSWER! When more than one out of every three women are getting c-sections, something is not right! There is no way in hell that many women are incapable of delivering a healthy baby, vaginally. Drs and hospitals need to change what they are doing. A 30+% c-section rate is disgusting. They need to stop lying to these women and stop making them feel as if their bodies are dysfunctional and inadequate.

And VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) are actually SAFER than a repeat c-section! Telling women a VBAC is too risky is a HUGE lie drs tell women. 75-80% of women who are given a proper chance at a VBAC go on to have a successful and healthy birth!

We as women need to start demanding better care! Or else nothing will ever change.

I'm trying to help change things by constantly putting facts out there (usually via my facebook and blog) and by choosing a midwife and home birth. If I can even help one woman have a successful birth that goes how they wanted, I'll be happy.

All I can do is put the facts out there and pray that someone listens...

On another note: I am fully aware that some women labor differently than the scenarios that I put up. I am putting up the most common births. This is my page and if you don't like what I have to say, you don't have to read it. Also, if you get offended or start to feel guilty about your own labor, don't blame me. You need to deal with your issues and educate yourself so your next labor can be an enjoyable experience. I'm not writing this to put anyone down about how they chose to labor. I am also aware that there are women out there that just don't want to labor without pain meds.

I also urge any woman who will ever have a baby, to read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. There are many many birth stories and facts in there. The book has been helping me to feel empowered and excited about my upcoming labor and birth.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

12 Week Belly Bump

Woohoo! Second trimester, here I come! And talk about rounding out this week... wow, I'm finally looking more pregnant (well Gabe and I think so) and not like I just got done having Thanksgiving dinner! We met with my midwife for the first time and I am excited about her (post on her later).

Here's a picture I took last night. Granted, it was shortly after eating, but I can't hide this bump anymore. :)
No denying there's a baby in there now!
Note: I have a poll on the right side. Just something fun to see what everyone thinks I'm having. :)

How far along - 12 weeks

Weight gain - 1 lb so far. I haven't been trying to gain weight but as much as I eat, I thought I would be gaining.

Morning sickness/nausea - Smells are still a big part of what makes me feel sick. I always feel sick when I need to eat. For the most part though, I feel great.

Pain - My lower back pain comes and goes. It usually starts in the morning and then gradually gets worse throughout the day. Also some stretching and cramping in my belly. And TMI, I have been having some bad gas pains. They seriously feel like contractions.

Sleep - Sleep has been hard. I can't get comfortable and stay that way. I usually wake up almost every day around 4am having to pee. I usually get 9 hours or more of sleep a night but still feel tired the next day.

Stretchmarks - Nope.

Maternity clothes - All in maternity bottoms now. Still not in maternity shirts.If the weather ever gets below 80, I would wear my fall maternity shirts.

Food cravings/aversions - No aversions except when smelling food that just doesn't agree with me. If I'm craving something, it's best if I eat it. I was craving tomato soup for a week and went through lots of it.

Eating/drinking - I eat ALL. THE. TIME. I have to eat a smaaall meal every two hours or I start to feel sick. It's sad how little I can eat now in one sitting. I had a bowl of tomato soup the other day and felt like my stomach was going to explode from being so full. I am also very thirsty and have to have water by me at all times.

Boy or Girl - We're not finding out this time! But (not so secretly) I think it's a girl.

Lowlights of the week - back pains, being tired all the time

Highlights of the week - We got to have our last ultrasound of the pregnancy (midwife doesn't do them) and Gabe got to go with and see. It grew SO MUCH!

Anything to add - I'm getting so anxious about feeling the baby move. It is just around the corner and could be anytime now!

11 Weeks

11 Weeks

11 Weeks

LOVE it!
Our last ultrasound pictures.

12 Weeks

12 Weeks

That belly button won't stay in much longer!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

4 Years Old


My sweet sweet boy. How can you be turning 4 already?! I knew this day would come, but it sure came faster than I would have liked!

You have grown from a happy-go-lucky baby to a rambunctious toddler, and now into a loving and caring pre schooler. Christian, you have such a sweet soul and I hope that never changes.

You absolutely love to play the Agent Dash game on our Ipads and are better at it than me. I can watch you play any game and see your mind at work problem solving and figuring out the next step. You are very persistent and do not give up very easily. You will work and work at those games and get better and better.

Christian, we would love to see you put more effort into speaking. You try but then get frustrated and give up. Mommy has been working with you and you have improved.

You love your daddy very much and I can tell you look up to him. From the way you imitate him to the way you look at him, you want to be just like daddy. And I hope when you grow up, you are like him.

Christian, you have such a special place in mommy's heart. You are always trying to take care of the baby and me. You make sure I have water, food, and am comfortable. If I'm hurting, you rub my back and tell me that it will be OK. If I tell you I'm tired, you get me a pillow and blanket and tell me to lay down.

You are such a good son and we thank God every day for you. Mommy and daddy are so proud of you, Christian and we will always love you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Rewind

We had a great weekend even despite the fact that Gabe was on a trip for half of it and my allergies were running wild.

Gabe had a short business trip this past week and by Friday, I was ready for it to be DONE. I really didn't want to go home after picking Alena up from school and try to survive until bedtime so I looked online at something free for us to do.

I found out that a local nature preserve was doing hummingbird banding. I've been wanting to go all summer and see that but with Gabe gone on trips and doing school work all the time, I always put it off thinking that next time, he would have time and we could all go. But then when we could go, neither of us had the motivation or energy. We just wanted to relax at home. But the kids were driving me nuts and I really wanted to do something outside of the house, so the kids and I went and had a great time.

It was really interesting to see how they catch and band the birds. And we didn't just sit there and watch them, they let us hold and release the hummingbirds back into the wild!

They caught them by placing a net over a bird feeder and then when the bird is drinking, someone with a remote control drops the nets to trap the bird.

Then they are placed in small netted holders and carried to a nearby table where the bird bander weighs, measures, and tags them.
Alena got to carry a bird!

 Here are a couple birds awaiting their turn to be tagged.

They are tagged first.

Then measured...

They check their body fat by blowing on the feathers because their skin is actually translucent  so they are able to see how much fat they have and if it is an adequate amount to be able to migrate. She also counts their feather colors and check other things that I couldn't understand. She was very thorough in the process.
 The bird is also weighed. Most of the birds weighed around 3.5 ounces! So light and tiny!

 And last, they are given a drink as a reward before being released.

Now the fun part! The birds are placed in our hand and we hold them until they fly away. Alena's bird stayed for at least 3 minutes, mine 2, and poor Christian only got to hold his for just a few seconds.

Love the colors!

It was pretty amazing to feel them in your hand. Their breathing was so fast and they were so light! The kids also found several bugs they just couldn't leave alone...

Then on Saturday we went to an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. The setup was beautiful but because it was in the woods, there were bugs EVERYWHERE and my allergies were out of control. I spent all of Sunday just trying to get my face to stop burning and even today (monday) my eyes are still puffy and sore, plus my nose is stuffy.

The awesome cake!

See the grasshopper in the vase? They were everywhere!

What Christian did almost the whole time. Look for bugs.

Caught one!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So We Don't Get Fat

Gabe has started working out and the kids are loving it because they like to join in. And they claim to be doing it "so they don't get fat." Ooook... Whatever gets them to exercise I guess. They get up early with him every morning and do burpees, pullups, pushups, whatever daddy's doing. And would you believe that they actually enjoy, like, and have fun with it?! Yeah, I don't like to exercise and since I'm pregnant, I get to stay in bed and enjoy an extra 5-10 minutes of sleep. Works for me. :)

After dinner one night, they wanted to work out again so I caught it on camera this time.

Here they are doing burpees. They have so much energy!

And miss Alena, the beast, can do some awesome pullups. These pictures were taken AFTER the burpees and AFTER doing a ton of other pullups. (please excuse the blurriness)

And then Gabe joined in and did some burpees with them. Love these shots!