08 5 / 2013
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my birth experiences with all three of my daughters. Childbirth has become less about the comfort of the mother and more about the medical experience people tend to see it as. Women were giving birth for centuries without medical interventions and survived just fine. Why then, when a woman goes into labor, is birth treated like something that is going to kill her and can only be handled with an array of medical interventions? If labor slows, induce. If there’s pain, use an epidural. If there are twins, perform a c-section. Not just that, but mom must be kept on her back, in bed the whole time, and strapped down with fetal heart monitors and IVs and cannot eat anything. All of this has not proven to make childbirth any safer, in fact, childbirth can become more traumatic with these interventions.
With my first daughter, I knew I wanted a natural drug-free childbirth. Unfortunately, that was not an option given the fact that my pregnancy was high risk. I suffered from endometriosis and needed surgery and had to endure hormone therapy in order to get pregnant. I had two miscarriages before finally getting pregnant with my, now 8 year old, daughter. Because of these issues, I had to deliver in a hospital, no birth center would take me. I expressed my concerns to my doctor and she said she would do whatever she could to give me my ideal delivery. When I finally went into labor around 7am on November 28th, 2004, I made a point to eat breakfast because I knew I would be deprived of food once I arrived (a practice I still don’t understand. It’s as if hospitals anticipate surgery from the moment you arrive, so you are starved just in case they have to cut you open). When I arrived i was told it was still early and to go for a walk, something i was very happy to do. By about 9am things got intense and they admitted me. My doctor was called and she informed the nurses of my wishes, so they did a quick check of my daughter’s heart rate and let me do my thing in the hospital. Since I had eaten, they saw no need to hook me up to an IV. By 11 I was in complete active labor, something the hospital said was uncommon for a first time mother, so they hadn’t even set up a delivery room for me yet. I ended up riding out the last hour of my labor in a regular hospital room. When I suddenly felt like I needed to push, the nurses told me that was impossible, that it was too soon and I was mistaking my pain. After 20 minutes of screaming at them and telling them I would delivery my baby myself they finally checked me and said I was ready to go. Why I wasn’t allowed to deliver until they said so is something that still bothers me. I was told, however, that I would continue to have to hold her in because my doctor was another 20 minutes away. At this point I had already been preparing to push for 20 minutes, so adding another 20 concerned me. When my doctor finally walked in, I was ready to go. One good push and she was out at 12:36pm. I was in labor a total of about 5 hours. I was thankful that I wasn’t pumped full of drugs, but the nurses not taking me seriously is something that still upsets me. And the fact that my doctor was only there for about 15 minutes very much upset me.
With my second daughter, my entire delivery was an absolute nightmare. Because I was high risk throughout my first pregnancy, it was assumed that I would be high risk again, so the doctor we ended up with wasn’t open to any natural option. And since we were new to the area and limited by my insurance as to where I could deliver, I thought I just had to go with her decision. My ex was also against any other option and blindly followed every decision the doctor made and got angry with me anytime I questioned her. From my very first appointment, I had to go every week because “something could go wrong.” Not only that, but she insisted on checking me every time because I went into preterm labor twice with my first, so she assumed it would happen again. By my 3rd month, I was actually afraid of my doctor. In my 4th month, I told her I wasn’t going to endure anymore exams, that I felt they were unnecessary. I wish I could have gone somewhere else, but our insurance wouldn’t let me, so I had to suffer. When my due date came around on March 2nd, 2007, my daughter still hadn’t arrived. Even though this is actually quite common, my doctor wouldn’t let me go past and insisted I check into the hospital the following morning and be induced. I was NOT ok with this, but after an ultrasound showed a rapid heart rate in my daughter, I blindly followed her orders upon the insistence of my ex. We arrived at the hospital around 9:30am and I was ordered into a gown (they refused to let me wear my own nightshirt and robe), put in the bed, hooked up to a fetal heart monitor, and immediately hooked up to an IV and told not to move. Because the contractions I was experiencing weren’t natural, they were excruciating. I also had to pee about every 20 minutes because of all the fluids. Every time i had to get up, I was reprimanded by the nurse and told I would end up with a catheter if I didn’t control my bladder. According to her, I was “not allowed” to move. I refused to follow her orders and got up to pee when I felt like it because this woman was just plain crazy. How exactly do you expect a pregnant woman being fed fluids to control her bladder? After about 8 hours, they checked on my and saw very minimal progress (no s**t, nothing about it was natural, so my body wasn’t cooperating). I was advised that a c-section may be necessary. I absolutely refused. Just because I was a day late and my labor was progressing slowly was no excuse to cut me open after only 8 hours. My doctor instead ordered my water broken. Something I still don’t understand, especially since there are women who deliver without their water ever breaking. After she broke my water though, things finally started to progress. The fact that they upped the pitocin also probably had something to do with it. After a couple more hours I just couldn’t take the pain. My ex went to the nurse and she came in and ordered the anesthesiologist into the room for an epidural. Again, I refused their suggestion. I said I was in pain because I wasn’t allowed to move and that I, in no way, wanted an epidural. Even though I was forced to induce, I was still adamant about as natural a delivery as possible. When the pain got even worse, I got out of bed, unhooked the monitors, and went into the bathroom and had my ex draw me a bath. In the 12 hours since they started my labor, it was the first relief from pain that I had. I wanted to stay in the tub but the same nurse burst into the bathroom without knocking, began yelling at me about how I could get an infection, and practically dragged me out of the tub. I threw up about 10 minutes later and she came back in with what she told me was something to help with the nausea. It turns out, however, that she put demerol in my IV, even though I refused drugs. After the shift change, I reported this nurse to the woman in charge and she was later fired for such horrible behavior after I was the 4th patient that night to have issues with her. I was finally allowed out of be by the morning nurse and upon standing and moving around, my labor sped up. I honestly believe if I had been able to move, it wouldn’t have taken nearly as long. My doctor showed up around 6:30am and after some time pushing, my daughter was born at 7am on March 4th. However, because I was ordered on my back, and was loopy from the demerol, I had difficulty pushing. My daughter was also wrapped up in the umbilical cord and she had to be unwrapped as she was coming out. All of these things added up to my ending up with a torn cervix. I won’t go into too much detail, but I would honestly have traded another 16+ hours of labor for the pain that I experienced while she stitched me up. My ENTIRE pregnancy and labor was absolutely horrible. In retrospect, much of it had to do with my doctor and the nurse, but many of the practices I endured are very common, and many women just follow orders. I even did, do a degree. But I was not going to give into a c-section just because it would have been easier for my doctor.
My pregnancy and labor with my 3rd daughter was absolutely wonderful. I owe much of it to having such a supportive husband. Unlike the father of my older 2 daughters (whom I am thankful I never married), my husband was on board with every decision I made regarding my pregnancy. When I told him I wanted a midwife instead of a doctor and a birth center water birth instead of a hospital birth, his response was “you’re the one giving birth, and I want you to be happy.” We made an appointment at the Baby Love Birth Center and went for a tour. I fell in love with the midwife and the entire staff. Everyone was so warm and friendly, and the birth rooms were decorated like cozy bedrooms. No medical equipment, just a queen size bed, jacuzzi tub, and private bathroom. I expressed my concerns about having been high risk previously and was told it was not an issue, unlike what I had been told before with my 2nd daughter. We did have some issues with my insurance at first and had to pay out of pocket for a few months, but my husband was glad to pay it because of my happiness. Eventually we got our insurance to cover the birth center. Over time, some family members and friends tried very hard to talk me out of a water birth, some even called me selfish for worrying about my comfort over the safety of my baby. Excuse me?!?! Studies have shown that a water birth can actually be MORE beneficial to the baby over a traditional hospital delivery because when mom is under less stress, the baby is under less stress. Every appointment felt more like I was talking to a friend rather than a medical professional. In fact, the only exam I had was on my first visit, and only because it had been a year and a half since my last annual exam. If it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t have needed one at all. I actually looked forward to my appointments and very much enjoyed every visit. I felt like a person, not just another name on a chart. The fact that I was seeing the same people each time was nice too. Instead of a waiting room, it had a lounge feel, with couches and comfy chairs. I woke up in the middle of the night in my 38th week with horrible back pain and steady contractions. After a few hours of it persisting, my husband called the father of my oldest daughters and he came to pick them up and we went to the birth center. It turns out I was in labor, but she was stuck and hitting a nerve in my back, which explained the horrible pain. After a lack of progress, my midwife felt like she wasn’t going to come out, but rather than send me to the hospital, she sent me to a chiropractor. She felt that if we could get my daughter shifted into the correct position, that she would come out safely on her own. I was sent home with a shot of something to relax my body and my daughter so that I could sleep. After 3 days, some work with the chiropractor, and a couple of things to help me sleep, my labor finally stopped. I kept seeing the chiropractor every other day for 2 weeks and he managed to get her into position. On February 6th, 2013, I went into labor with my 3rd daughter. I called my husband around 9am and told him I felt like it was going to happen. He got home shortly after and around 11am things got going. I sent him to get me something to eat and when he returned my labor got more intense. We called my midwife around 12:45pm and said we were coming in. We got there a little after 1pm and they had the tub ready for me at my request. I was told to let my body take over and push when I felt like I needed to. I was never told to wait on anyone. Suddenly I felt the need to push and I was told to go with it. My husband sat back and let me do my thing. After 2 good pushes she was out at 2:13pm, just over an hour after we arrived. I was a little sore, but nothing tore and no stitches were needed. I actually enjoyed my experience and was perfectly happy and relaxed. My midwife and the assistants just sat back and let me do my thing and gently helped me get her out when it was time. I got out of the tub about half an hour later and my husband and I snuggled in the bed with our baby girl. By 6 o’clock we were loading up to go home. Unlike in a hospital where you are forced to stay put for 48 hours, we were able to go home the same day. My mother, mother and father in law, and 6 and 8 year old daughter’s were all waiting for us when we got home. The entire day flew by and was an absolutely joyful experience.
Given my as-natural-as-possible delivery in the hospital with my first daughter, my hospital nightmare delivery with my 2nd daughter, and my relaxing birth center delivery with my 3rd daughter, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend a natural birth to any pregnant woman. Even when I had some complications, rather than send me to the hospital, my midwife and staff did everything naturally possible to get my daughter delivered safely. If I had a traditional doctor and had gone into the hospital, I honestly believe I would have ended up with a c-section. I am so thankful I went to a birth center this last time and am thankful I didn’t listen to the naysayers and had such a wonderful and supportive husband. I never thought I would say this, but I enjoyed my delivery with my youngest daughter. I hope more women will go the natural route and let their bodies do what they are supposed to do. Childbirth is a beautiful and completely natural experience, it shouldn’t be treated like a medical procedure. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make your own decisions regarding your own body.
07 5 / 2013
Is it wrong that I want a little alone time this weekend for mother’s day? Sunday is mother’s day, but I really want to spend Saturday on the jetski with my husband (which hasn’t happened in a year). Think I can get my bikini body back in 4 days? : /
07 5 / 2013
A recent article went on to say that 3 is the most stressful number of children. As a mother of three, I can certainly understand where they are coming from, but I don’t think this study covered every example. For instance, when most families decide to have multiple children, they usually keep at it, with little time in between (everyone I know with more than 1 child only waited about a year or two before trying again, myself included with number one and number two). So, of course things are going to be stressful if you have 3 children only a couple years apart each. I couldn’t imagine trying to juggle a baby, toddler, and a kid in school, i would go insane. But in my personal case, not only are my older two 6 and 8 while my youngest is 3 months (leaving a large age gap between my 2nd and 3rd), but they also have a different father than my youngest. Half the time in our home we are only taking care of one child, then the other half of the time when my oldest 2 daughters are here they really enjoy helping out. My 6 year old will play with the baby and my 8 year old helps with chores. We also have next door neighbors and friends with kids their age, so it helps when they have other kids to play with. I actually find myself under less stress now than I did when my older two were little.
Before, I was up all night with a colicky baby and then running around all day with a toddler. By the time their father got home, i just wanted to lock myself in the bedroom and sleep. But I couldn’t because I had to get dinner ready, bathe my little ones, put the baby to bed, then read my toddler a story (in retrospect, it was more their father who stressed me out due to his lack of participation because he was “too tired from working all day,” words no stay at home mom wants to hear). At times I do find myself worrying. Just a year ago I was making more money than my husband and my older girls had more stuff than they knew what to do with and we never stressed about money. Now with the arrival of our own bundle of joy, I am now a stay at home mom again. Currently, my oldest 2 have their own rooms while the baby sleeps in ours, but pretty soon they will have to share a room when we move the baby into her own room. My husband wants to buy a bigger house, but that’s just not possible with only one income.
When I lost my job last year, we took it as a sign that I should go back to school and land in a better workplace someday, but unfortunately we’ve had to pay for me to basically do as much work as a job while also taking care of 3 children. It’s been hard, but thankfully this time I have a supportive husband who takes care of the baby when he gets home so I can do schoolwork, and who also gets up early on the weekends with the baby so I can catch up on some sleep. He also goes out of his way to take my older two girls out every Sunday so they’re not trapped in the house while I spend all day taking care of the baby. I think having such a helpful and understanding partner has greatly reduced my stress level. My husband has been the single handed reason for my sanity. I am lucky to have such a wonderful man. He is the most amazing step-father to my older daughters and he adores his baby girl.
Perhaps the most stressful part about having older daughters while taking care of an infant is what we’re all missing out on. Before we could just load up in 20 minutes and go to the beach, dinner, or movies. Now it takes more like an hour and I feel like we’re packing half our home. Our finances have also become a concern, however our vehicles are now paid off, I’m breastfeeding, we’re using cloth diapers, and many of my daughter’s clothes and toys were gifts or hand me downs from friends or things I held onto that belonged to my older two daughters, so we really haven’t spent much on our baby girl. It’s just my lack of income that’s basically set us back. We definitely can’t afford to buy a bigger home yet, so my older daughters will have to share a room and don’t have as much as they used to, but I raised them to appreciate what they DO have, so they really don’t mind much. Before the baby was even born we told them that we would be cutting back and that they would have to room together for a while. Surprisingly, they were ok with it. The beauty of their age now is that they actually don’t need much at all. They have a television, a Wii, books, bikes, scooters, and the backyard, and they’re happy with that.
I guess the point I’m trying to make with all this is that parents of multiple children shouldn’t always fear. I’ll be honest, even though my husband and I had talked about having a baby since before we got married, and had been trying to get pregnant since our wedding night, I was a bit flustered when those two little lines appeared. Of course I was happy, but part of me really enjoyed the alone time my husband and I had together while my daughters were with their dad. I guess I just wasn’t quite as ready to give up our adventures as I had thought. So we sat down and promised each other that we would still go out. My husband enjoys hanging out with the guys and drinking a beer or two, and I actually enjoy going to the movies alone. We decided we wouldn’t stop each other from enjoying our solo time and would talk with our parents about baby-sitting at least once a month so we can go out together. I honestly believe the secret to healthy parenting and marriage is time to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughters more than life itself, but sometimes I just want to escape homework, sibling rivalry, theater class, poopy diapers, and breastfeeding for a few hours. Since having our daughter three months ago though my husband and I have only gone out together once, I’ve gone out alone twice, and he’s been out about a dozen times (in all fairness that’s more my fault). But with our wedding anniversary just a month away my mother has agreed to keep all three girls for the whole weekend so we can escape to the island on which we honeymooned. I’ll be honest, I’m counting down the days. We definitely need this little vacation together. As a parent, don’t be afraid to make time for yourself, and don’t feel guilty when you do, you need to keep your sanity. After all, your kids don’t want to be around you 24/7 as they get older.
My girls (from front to back) - Fiona, Kyleigh, and Abigail. My loves!
19 4 / 2013
So, this blog was originally supposed to be for my designs and to get my little medieval kids shop off the ground again. However, with the arrival of our baby girl, my sewing machine has ended up covered and in a corner. It’s not that I don’t want to sew, it’s just hard to find the time with a newborn (well 2 1/2 months now) in the house. Not only that, but I decided to go back to school last fall, so homework and studying has kept me busy. In the last year, my entire life has changed, so I figured maybe it was time for my blog to change too.
I’ve decided to hop on the bandwagon and share my thoughts and ideas with the world. I always find myself reading mom blogs and comparing notes, so I figured I’d start my own. I guess you have my Comp 1 professor to thank. I legitimately enjoy writing, but I’m an environmental science major, so aside from scientific journals and the eventual thesis I will have to write once I make it to graduate school, writing won’t be a big event in school. When I explained this to my professor after my 3rd writing assignment (which I aced) she suggested that I start blogging. She said I have a lot of opinions and that I am a creative writer. The first paper I wrote was over 2,000 words on the gray wolf and how it needs to become a protected species again. Because it was something I was passionate about, I was able to do the proper research and really put all my heart into it. I got a 9.5 out of 10 on the assignment.
I think I’ve decided that this blog will be about a little of everything. My kids, school, my opinions, and my frustrations. I’m also cloth diapering our baby girl, so I will probably share my thoughts on that too. I have always been environmentally friendly, so deciding to cloth diaper wasn’t even a second thought, I’m just thankful my husband was on board, although he’s still learning. In fact, once we found out we were pregnant, my husband was completely supportive of every decision I made. In his words “you’re the one having the baby, so you should be the one deciding how you want to have the baby.” My first pregnant decision: Birth Center not hospital! After 2 hospital deliveries, one of which was an absolute nightmare, I decided I was going to do it the way I always wanted to, free of doctors and unnecessary medical interventions. And let me tell you, it was incredible. I never though the words “I enjoyed my labor” would come out of my mouth, but it was just so incredible. I was so relaxed in the jacuzzi tub, and the midwife and assistants left me to do my thing. They helped me in the tub when I first got there, and were a strong support team. I never felt rushed or intimidated. Although my daughter was kind of rushed herself. She made her appearance just over an hour after we got there. Afterward my husband and I held her immediately, no rush to weigh or bathe her like in hospitals, just cuddling. It was amazing. And we came home 4 hours later.
My oldest daughters (Kyleigh, 8 and Abby, 6) were so excited and adore their baby sister. Kyleigh helps me in the morning, keeping her calm while I get dressed, Abby likes to help with her bath, and they both enjoy talking to her and making silly faces to make her smile. While the thought of raising 3 girls is a bit terrifying, I also find it amusing. They each have their own individual personalities. Kyleigh is a tom-boy, and loves camping and kayaking. Abby is an affectionate sweetheart, but has a stubborn side that she gets from me. Even Fiona has developed a little personality, she loves being naked and is happiest when she is in the bath.
For the time being, I will end this blog. But don’t worry, I have a lot going on in my head, so I will be sure to share, especially once i get the hang of this cloth diapering thing.
21 7 / 2012
02 3 / 2012