Monday, September 19, 2011

Forced Organization AB

AB = After Baby.  There is a very distinct divide between pre-baby and life after baby.  You can't anticipate all the ways in which it will change you, you just know from everything you've heard that it will.  We couldn't have fully prepared.  I tried.  I looked for all the answers and fell into the crowd that has them all - the AP crunchy crowd.  For me, this was all the appeal.  I was overwhelmed, about to enter a foreign and strange land.  And I wanted to do well.  I wanted to have some advance training in the language, the customs, a roadmap, and these people HAD IT.  I think this is why some people are drawn to religious cults.  The Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses have an answer, no THE answer to every question.  What exactly happens after we die?  Like moment, by moment, where do we go and what is it like?  There is an answer, and there is cause and effect.  Gives a great sense of peace, calm and control.  If I push button X, then Y will happen.  If I co-sleep, then we will all rest and baby will be secure and confident, spouse and I will be well-rested.  Good to know.  People would warn me about sleepless nights when I was pregnant.  I would laugh it off.  No, silly, we're CO-SLEEPING.  We won't have any of THOSE problems.  They'd look at me like "Good luck with that.  Are you insane?"  Yes.  I had all the answers.  And then I had a baby.

But I digress.  One of the unanticipated side effects of the introduction of baby into our lives was a the urgent need to become more organized.  Like, MUCH more organized.  Or we didn't eat.  Literally.  At dinner we'd try our usual routine of What do you want for dinner?  Oh I dunno, what do you want?  PB this could go on for an hour or two and eventually something would end up cooked and eaten, usually at a restaurant.  AB this would go on for 5 minutes and we'd get caught up in other baby routine stuff and then it would be time to collapse in bed.  Baby ate, but frequently we didn't.  (not that this led to any weight loss.  boo.)  So in the last few weeks I have, out of survival instinct, devised a schedule for meals for the week.  I think its pretty nifty so I'm going to share.  Not that anyone who sat down and thought about it for 5 minutes couldn't or wouldn't come up with something similar, but that's just the thing.  Sometimes with a baby its hard to sit and think coherently.  Maybe its easier to see it on some random person's blog.   Here you go.

I do meal shopping for the week on Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes Parker goes with me, sometimes he stays home with Daddy.

It's important to plan fresh produce in our diets, but produce doesn't last long.  Thus, the freshest, most quickly spoiling things we have the earliest in the week, and the end of the week is for freezer stuff and leftovers.  So, we have a big dinner salad on Mondays, with grilled chicken, nuts, cheese, dried cranberries, tossed with dressing.  These have become a big hit.  Last week, SoggyDad grilled steaks to go with the salad instead of chicken.

Tuesday is ground beef day.  Default is meatloaf, but spaghetti is an alternate, or a hamburger helper type thing, with fresh veggies.

Wednesday is pot roast day, with celery, carrots, potatoes, etc  Note:  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are interchangeable)

Thursday is DH's night to bring home Boston Market or Arby's.  He knows what I like there so there is no wondering about what to get.

Friday is bake/cook something out of the freezer night.  Chicken Cordon Bleus, Pizza, skillet meal, etc

So this works very well so far, about 4 weeks in.  There is just enough choice built in to keep it interesting, but not enough that we have to think too hard.  And we mostly get a healthy dinner every night.  True, could be healthier, could be better, but we can add levels of complexity later.  Sleep is finally getting much better...  It is true for us that if we have to think too hard and make decisions, it won't happen.  All our creativity and thought goes into figuring out what the hell the baby wants right now.  lol.  It's a mystery and an obsession.  We're getting much better at it now, but until he talks, a lot of burden is on us and our skill in guesswork.

We also plan activities.  Like, days and weeks in advance.  This I like more than I would have thought, really.  I get to look forward to going out on a date night for 3 days, because that's how long in advance we have to line up the babysitter.  I have plans to take the family to the Spy Museum this weekend.  Again, if we have to plan too much on the fly, nothing exciting happens.  We MIGHT end up at the mall, but probably nothing better.

They say babies really thrive on a schedule.  I wouldn't have believed this.  "Schedule" is sort of a bad word in AP circles.  Everything should be "on demand".  But when you can't remember how long its been since the baby demanded food (or at least you thought he was demanding food.  In any case, he was fed...) you don't know if he's more hungry, or tired, or what...  The reality is that babies have so little control over their lives, their ability to communicate is very limited and leads to lots of frustration on both ends.  There is something comforting about at least knowing what comes next, and that it is pleasant and predictable.  And scheduling ends up being more about anticipating what baby will want before the situation gets critical, than fitting his needs into a box.  Yes, scheduling = peace.

True for baby, and true for new parents, too.  The thing is, we have had to find our own way.  No one can blaze this trail for you, and that's OK because its part of the fun and adventure.  Thinking we could simply follow someone else's trail only led to confusion and disappointments.  Once I've let that go, there's been a lot more joy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birth is Not to be Trusted

It's just not. That's what I've learned. It's not society, it's not culture, it's not hospitals and eeeevil doctors, it's not a lack of support or education that ruins our births for us... its birth that ruins birth for us. Period. Birth sucks and it will kick your ass, and potentially kill you or your baby, and that's just how it is. Birth doesn't care. Birth can get away with killing many many many babies and women because there are many many many more to take your place. It's all the same to Birth.

Same for breastfeeding. None of these booby traps made breastfeeding suck for me. Breastfeeding made breastfeeding suck. There is no one to rail against because I had thrush and pain and misery and blocked ducts and all manner of suckiness associated with breastfeeding.

Nature and natural childbirth without drugs or outside help is a religion for these women. These processes are their god. To call these into question is blasphemy. That is the problem - that is the source of all the mommy tension in the crunchy/uncrunchy dynamic. Problems are someone's fault. Nearly without exception. If you're not experiencing the divine joy that is crunchiness, you're doing it wrong. Or, more generously, your support system or your culture is failing you. Couldn't possibly be that complications happen all the time in childbirth. Couldn't possibly be that - newsflash - breastfeeding actually DOES hurt for some women, despite a good latch...

What I've learned is that even though I wanted a natural birth, what I wanted MORE was a healthy baby, and that trumps everything. I did not blindly follow the religion of crunch so fastidiously that it kept me from the hospital when I needed it. Other women seem so willing to sacrifice their children on this altar, and I don't understand it. Their children die and they continue to worship. Others have children die and they see the light. So tragic. I'm glad my baby is here and healthy, and I cannot continue in a cult that would blame the people that helped me get him here that way....

However, thank god for the crunchy community because, honestly, without them I don't know that I would have felt brave enough to even get pregnant and go through all this to begin with. They made me believe it would be OK, that it would even be beautiful, pleasurable even. I wouldn't have to step foot in a cold, sterile nasty hospital. I was so convinced... I was wrong, but I believed so strongly. But this was one error that was rewarded with a beautiful, strong, silly baby who is the light of my life. And even though I now know the reality of birth, I also know that its worth it. And I'll do it again. Next time without naivete, and without misplaced fears.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The No-Cry Blocked Duct Solution

OK, I've had a ton of blocked ducts, and am getting to be a real pro at getting rid of them. I've tried lots of tricks, but two of them in conjunction work the best:

1. Take an advil an hour or two before your next pump/feeding. Its anti-inflammatory properties help the clog get out, plus pain killer - yay.

2. Put a hot compress on the spot for a good 20 minutes right before feeding/pumping. Longer if possible. This thins out the fat in the milk and further expands tissues.

Massage gently while feeding/pumping. No more clog.

Most of the crunchy advice skips the Advil part. I think that's why I read so many complaints of it taking several feedings for it to go away. I would take hot showers, pump leaning way over, massage the thing as hard as I could stand it and it would still take a day or two for it to go away. I think the Advil is critical, but of course, that's a drug. Of course, you let these things go long enough they can develop into mastitis, and that's antibiotics. Luckily, I've not had to deal with mastitis yet... knock on wood.

So there you go - anti-inflammatories for clogged ducts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adventures in No-Sleeping *a-hem* Co-Sleeping

We were told we would not be getting any sleep with a newborn, at which we scoffed knowingly. Ah, but we are going to co-sleep. None of this struggling to get the baby to sleep in his crib in another room all by himself... No, sir. And we will be well rested because of this decision.


Why, no Mom. No need for you to take a night shift with the baby. We are putting him in bed with us. We'll see you in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed. You'll see.


OK, babies sleep like 20 out of 24 hours, waking to eat and then go right back to sleep. Right? How can you not get an abundance of rest if you simply sleep when they sleep? You could get 20 hours of sleep if you want, it would seem. But here's the reality. Baby sleeps in your arms after you breastfeed him to sleep. Then you can't put him down cause he'll wake up. He'll wake up in 30 minutes anyway and want to breastfeed back to sleep again. It's amazing how much sleep this constantly sleeping person can somehow deprive you of, but they are engineered somehow to do this.

The first night went fairly well. Baby was completely passed out. In fact, he went 5 hours without waking and we got worried, so tried to wake him to feed, and with some difficulty, we fed him at 2am. Subsequent nights, this was not an issue. Baby would suddenly start screaming blooy murder - we discovered he went from 0 to starvingangryfamisheddying baby in a second flat. No warning, just sudden and total meltdown. Hubby would deposit him on a pillow on my lap and I would feed him. He'd be asleep within 5 minutes. Ooookay. Move him over beside me and turn out the light and lay down. starvingangryfamisheddying baby instantaneously. Oookay... feed. Asleep in 5 minutes again. Move baby - nope. Okay, feed. Asleep. Wait for baby to be soundly asleep. Veeerrryyy gently try to move... nope. Okay, feed. Asleep. Wait 30 freaking minutes for the baby to be very soundly asleep. Nope. Okay, prop self up with pillows, feed baby asleep, try to sleep sitting up with baby on lap. By the way, intersperse about 10 diaper changes in there.

This was the our cosleeping attempt. We did this for about a week when Mom came back into town and again offered to take a night shift. We were both half-crazed zombies and eagerly agreed this time.

Mom took baby downstairs to the living room where we had a changing table, rocking chair, cradle, two couches and a baby swing. Basically, an uber nursery. I came down every 3 hours to pump and I'd find them curled up on one couch or the other. Or she'd have him in the cradle next to one of the couches. Or he'd be in his swing. But she'd be beside him with a bottle all night, waking every hour or so, but giving us some much needed respite.

When she left again we were not about to reattempt the upstairs cosleeping nightmare from before. No. Downstairs was working for him, it made sense for one person to stay with him and meet his needs while the other got some uninterrupted sleep. So began the shifts.

I would sleep upstairs from 8:30 until midnight or 1, Mike would get him to sleep in his swing, feed him when he would wake, and try to sleep a little in there too. I'd come down at 1 and pump, then Mike would head upstairs and I'd take over downstairs with Parker. I get 3-4 hours sleep upstairs, and another 2-3 downstairs. Altogether, its a survivable, functional amount of cumulative sleep. But is it co-sleeping? Its certainly not the family bed we envisioned. But it works. It's a survival mechanism.

Parker is 4 months now and we still do this. We eagerly look forward to the day he can sleep upstairs and we can all be together. But for now, this keeps us all relatively ok. Parker never cries it out. He's never felt abandoned or alone. I think this is good. But in a month or two we will have to reassess some things and wrap this up...

So that's what is working for us. You have to find what works for you. You might need to employ a little creativity and intuition tho. Read all the books you like. Ultimitely, the baby is in charge. At least for now.

As terribly fun as that sounds...

Child-led weaning. Purportedly it happens "anytime between 2.5 - 7 years old" and is better for their emotional and mental development.

Do you have any idea how CRAAAAZY you sound? A 7 year old? Still sucking on a mommy's boob? I mean, I hate to judge, but... wow. I'm trying to picture that...

and how ruinous that would be to my marriage, what with my official diagnosis of "Lactational Atrophic Vaginitis" which renders me either a nun or writhing in pain during sex for the duration. We like having his father around, so STFU about him being lucky enough to decide when he's done. We're not doing this for 7 years. We hope to make it 2 more months, but after a year, he's cut off. Why? Cause maybe he'll be "lucky" enough to have a sibling some day and mommy and daddy can't really work on that under present circumstances.

Mommy wars are fun and all... but I've learned this - every baby is different. Every mommy is different. Every family dynamic is different. These supposed studies don't know my situation. I hear how they don't like to consider themselves judgemental - they're just "sad" for you that you're not willing to do the best for your child. "I guess you'll have to decide for yourself if Parker deserves better than trace amounts of rocket fuel." That's not non-judgemental. That's actually pretty damn condescending. I'm only mildly annoyed you think your parenting choices mean you love your baby the right way, and because they don't work for me, I'm not trying hard enough or don't love my baby enough. But only mildly annoyed. Mostly, its beginning to just strike me as funny, and I'm ready to start poking you with a stick. Because rice cereal and formula are not going to hurt my baby when and if he gets them. So are a bunch of other choices that I might make.

poke poke poke

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm dismissive, so why won't you go away...

So the podcast "Parenting Within Reason" did an interesting enough interview with Dr Amy that I decided to give a very open minded listen to their hour long FAQ on vaccines, on which they are pro. Sadly, I found them to be barely coherent, smarmy sneering idiots on the topic, knocking down strawman after strawman and even giving outright misinformation (sterility is a *common* complication of mumps. Is 1 in 10,000 what you would call common?) And they brought up Andrew Wakefield's shortcomings as proof that vaccines are safe. Strawman strawman strawman.

Now, I'm willing to reconsider a lot of things. I will listen to reason. But before you and I talk vaccines, I'm afraid you'll have to pass this quiz I have formulated to screen out morons who don't know what they are talking about, or at least know less than me - in which case, why would I listen to you? Here we go:

1. What is the epidermis and what its role in protecting the body from enviromental toxins?

a. Where is approximately 80% of the body's immune function located?
b. Name at least one major filtration system in the body that a vaccine would encounter when injected into the body? (Note: this is a trick question)
c. In light of this, is there any merit to pointing out how many environmental toxins a normal, non-intravenous drug using person encounters every day/how much aluminum there is in formula/breastmilk/a tuna fish sandwich during a vaccine discussion?
d. Would you consider a pureed tuna fish sandwich a safely injectable substance? Why or why not? (Note: If you answered yes, please put down your pencil and hand in your paper. We are done talking.)

2. Who is Russell Blaylock and what is his profession?

3. Who wrote the paper entitled "Tobacco Science and the Thimerosal Scandal"?

4. What is glutathione?
a. What is the effect of Tylenol on glutathione?

5. Discuss the origins of herd immunity theory.

6. What does VAERS stand for?

7. Where did Bill Gates receive his medical training? (Note: also a trick question)

8. What is the safe level of aluminum in mcg for IV solutions for newborns per day according to the FDA?
a. What is the maximum cumulative amount of aluminum in mcg that a 2 month old following the CDC immunization schedule could receive in one day?

9. The vaccine industry touts the statistic that 50,000 Americans die from vaccine preventable diseases every year. What disease makes up the bulk of this statistic and in what age group?

10. What is the efficacy rate of the flu vaccine?

11. Is the flu a vaccine preventable disease?

12. What other condition mimics autism almost exactly? So exactly in fact, you'd swear they were the same thing?

13. Autism is one thing anti-vaxxers are concerned about. Name at least 5 other conditions that are a concern to them.

14. Would an anti-vaxxer be more worried about vaccinating their son or daughter and why?

15. At approximately what age does the blood-brain barrier develop?

16. What common vaccine still contains thimerosal?

17. Name 3 vaccine ingredients besides aluminum and thimerosal.

18. When was thimerosal removed from the MMR?
a. Please explain why this is a trick question:

19. When was the last case of Polio in the US and how was it acquired?

20. Please explain what a live virus vaccine is and name two vaccines that are live virus.

21. What is an adjuvant?

That's enough for now. I'll add more later as I think of them.

I swear those horns were around here somewhere...


Dr. Amy Tuteur, the Skeptical OB, is making more sense to me all of a sudden. How did this happen to me? She's a monster. A hateful, ignorant, self-righteous monster.

I'm reading through her blog, listening to her interviews with a more open mind and finding a whole community of people who are not fans of homebirth, but who still (inexplicably) love their children. There are other people who feel let down or deceived or embarrassed or angry by this beautiful mythology of peaceful birth...

I so wanted to be a poster child of a successful home water birth. It didn't happen. For the longest time I didn't want to talk about it. I felt so depressed about it. But I do need to talk about it. I think the homebirth movement has more red-headed stepchildren like me than anyone wants to admit. I didn't see them when I was pregnant. Or if I did, I could quickly analyze exactly what they did wrong so I wouldn't repeat their mistakes.

I wouldn't have believed it unless I experienced it for myself. I did everything right. So did my midwives. We still ended up with a csection.

Dr Amy talks about the MANA (Midwives Association of North America) research data on homebirth that they won't release to anyone unless they sign something swearing they will only use the data to further the cause of midwifery, and also a confidentiality agreement. And they have to be well-vetted. She sounds like she might be right in that if this data said something good for homebirth, they'd be crowing about it everywhere. There would be press releases, not confidentiality agreements.

...what does it say, I wonder...

That there are a lot more women like me? Or worse... I was lucky. I am healthy, I have a healthy baby. This is a good outcome. Maybe there are a lot more bad outcomes that we haven't been hearing about... Scary to think about...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why you will hate breastfeeding

To all my preggo first time moms out there, particularly the ones like me, who were asked if they plan to breastfeed and responded quite naively, Why of course! What - do I hate my child? Of COURSE I will breastfeed. What kind of monster wouldn't? And then would really wonder why its seems so controversial... really why wouldn't someone breastfeed... what am I missing...?

Well, let me tell you why you will hate it. (and why you'll do it anyway)

You will hate breastfeeding Week 1 because:

You will freak out over low/no supply and you will be convinced your newborn is starving. Then after putting the baby to the breast often enough to get your supply going, you will be raw, cracked, bleeding and sore. To the point where you will cry at the thought of feeding the baby again. In one hour. Plus breastfeeding will be awkward and ungainly and all manner of strangers will see you barechested. Oh, and the baby will have latch problems that will exacerbate the soreness and you will have to annoy the newborn constantly to correct this. If you even can.

Week 2

The nipple sheilds you got to give you a tiny bit of relief from clothing brushing up against your exquisitely sensitive nipples will give you the beginnings of thrush. Enjoy. And you'll experience your first growth spurt. You are nursing (and therefore in pain) about every hour or two round the clock. Sleep deprivation + cabin fever is slowly making you a little crazy.

Week 3 - 6

Pain is not going away, but getting worse - thank you, thrush - and you start getting your first of many golf balls stuffed into your boob tissue, otherwise known as a blocked duct. Ouch. You start practicing with the breast pump in an effort to assuage the cabin fever and let daddy give baby a bottle so you can get 2 hours of sleep in a row. The breast pump is not working on your breasts and you really start to panic.

Week 7-3 months

More blocked ducts, on a weekly basis. Treatment for the thrush you finally figured out you had, and a bout or two of mastitis. You can finally use the pump - hurrah - only now the baby will only take pumped milk from a bottle. This sentences you to constant bottle washing and feeling like a damn milk cow hooked up to a machine all the time. Baby is eating every 3-4 hours now and sleeping longer, its 6 weeks, so it's time to finally jump back in the sack with your man, but hold on... what the hell is wrong with my vagina??? I'll tell you what. Elevated oxytocin and decreased estrogen. Due to - you guessed it - breastfeeding. These hormones are killing your libido and making the walls of your vajayjay paper thin. Plus every drop of moisture in your body is now going out your boobs. You're like the Sahara desert down there. Ouch. Side note: this also means you're very constipated. You make a very embarrassing appointment with a doctor to ask what the hell is wrong with you (has something prolapsed? am I frigid? WTF?) and right away he knows what no LLL leader will admit: breastfeeding sucks. the very life out of your sex life. He says it won't get better until 3 months after you stop breastfeeding. Until then, be patient, use lots and lots, buckets and buckets of lube. ew. charming.

In general:

Every time the baby seems fussy or gassy, you will wonder if its because of something you ate. Related: people will tell you that because you are breastfeeding, you must not eat *insert favorite food here*

Formula feeding parents will brag about their baby sleeping through the night before yours. Formula is more filling. Sticks in their craw like a bag of cement. After several weeks of sleep deprivation, this will begin to have lots (and lots) of appeal.

Pain, stress, sleep deprivation, inconvenience, pain, loss of sex life, and did I mention PAIN - with so much to hate, why why why would anyone do this? If breastfeeding were a person, you'd have an excellent case in court against him. But you will do it anyway - or try your darndest - for reasons well-covered by the pro-breastfeeding nazis out there, but I will touch on the main points:

You get to eat anything you want and still lose weight. Really. Breastfeeding uses up a BUNCH of calories, so you will be under your pre-pregnancy weight in no time. Literally. For me it was a couple weeks.

That's not all. It's cheaper. Formula is criminally expensive, and aside from pumps, lanolins, bottles, bras, what-have-you, breastmilk is free. (plus the cost of extra chocolate cake)

Breastmilk has antibodies. If you are like me, you dread the first real bout with illness in your child. Kiss your baby lots, feed him breastmilk, and with any luck, it will be a long long long time before you worry about colds and flus, even if everyone else in your house is sick. Don't be surprised if your breastfed baby is fine.

Number one reason why you will breastfeed: because you love your little kidlet with all the love in the whole wide world and this is the food he is supposed to have. End of story.

***OK not everyone experiences all these problems - you'll have your very own special set of them! But for every problem there is a solution, or at least a way to cope... but if you can expect the worst and still forge boldly ahead, congratulations - you have truly earned the title MOMMA. Be proud of yourself. It may not work for you, or it may not work for as long as you'd like, and that's OK. Just do your best.

Breastfeeding Sucks

...literally. That is all.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In the wee hours...

Last night my little boy was having some sort of tummy trouble, maybe a little constipation, although he was having poopy diapers, he seemed very uncomfortable and was very restless in his sleep.

Now I may be a working mom. I may let someone else (a very wonderful, grandmotherly someone else) look after my boy all day, and his daddy does more than his fair share of holding and caring for the boy in the day time... but he knows who holds him at 3 in the morning and kisses it all better.

That was this morning in the wee hours. Something told me it was time to try the pear juice I've had on hand. He made his face he makes when something besides mama milkies is put in his mouth, but it was like magic. He was instantly settled, stopped whining and fidgeting. I laid him across my chest, put my pandora radio on "Enya" and we slept on the couch tummy to tummy until dawn, quite peacefully. And when I got up with him to change his diaper and laid him on the table he looked up at me like I was his absolute hero. Made me feel 10 feet tall.

My little boy is 4 months old today.

I read this morning of a woman in Japan frantically searching for her 5 year old little boy. Couldn't finish my breakfast after that. What if she never gets to make it all better for her little man, ever again? What if he is somewhere crying for her and scared? Makes me want to go get my little boy and cuddle with him all day on the couch... Hurts my heart...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yes, please!

Mmmmm... what's the uncrunchiest thing you can think of to eat?

That's correct - SPAM. And I'm eating it right now. It's delicious. It's actually one of our staples and a guilty pleasure in our house. We try not to think too much about what's in it.

Actually, we do. We joke all the time about the corneas and assholes that go into delicious Spam.

Did you know that George Burns and Gracie Allen shilled for Spam on their old-timey radio show? They were "Spam-bassadors"!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Not tonight, honey, I have a breastfeeding...

What they don't tell you about the prime sacrament of crunchiness, breastfeeding, is that it can really mess up your sex life. I mean really. Apparently increasing oxytocin and decreasing estrogen can be a deadly combination for some women. Breastmilk douses libido and even makes sex excruciatingly painful. I seriously thought something was wrong with me and asked my doctor about it. I thought something had prolapsed. I contacted endocrinologists about my hormone levels. No, this all just comes with the breastfeeding territory. Between the hormones and the fact that my body is socking every last drop of moisture available into my boobs, guess what?

My previously hardcore pro-breastfeeding hubby, upon learning these facts was like - Right, formula it is. kidding, but...

This, we were not prepared for. We were expecting the requisite 6 week postpartum recovery period. It's now been 4 months. I know I'm not the only one. But those breastfeeding nazis don't talk about this a lot because they don't like to talk about the things that would discourage women from breastfeeding. I guess it doesn't happen to everyone... Just special women like me for whom Murphy's Law in crunchiness applies.

But back when I was stockpiling all that St. John's Wort and witch hazel and castor oil I didn't need, I could have also stocked up on heavy duty lubricants as well.

I want to find those women who guiltily slink back into the bedroom after 4 weeks instead of waiting all 6 and wring their lucky little necks. (hee hee, we just couldn't wait! *blush*) Same with every Facebook update I see of "A perfect peaceful home water birth! Enjoying our babymoon!" If I was a generous soul I could find it in my heart to be happy for these people. Sometimes I'm just mad at what they made me expect that I didn't get.

I was set up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Look what I can grow!

My thumb is not entirely black. I forgot about this yummy chocolate cake, and now...

... the cure for some major disease is in there, I'm sure of it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

How not to wear your baby

Let me just put your 10-page birth plan in my "circular" file...

Saw a new OB the other day. Wanted some answers as to my bear-trap-like cervix that would not release little Parker. He was really nice. He was who the midwives thought was on duty when they called ahead that day. Turns out he just had the same last name. I didn't have a better recommendation than their excitement when they thought it was him, so three months later, I made an appt with him. I would have gone to the nice lady who cut my baby out of me, but I wonder if we have too much baggage between us...

So he thinks my pelvis is a little on the narrow side, and 8 pounds is a little on the average side, and, just spitballing, thinks maybe the baby wasn't descended far enough to put that pressure on the cervix to get it to dilate. So maybe more a function of the baby than my cervix after all. But this sounds a lot like the "dystocia" talk I've been so engrained to mistrust. whatever. It's kind of making sense.

He said I don't necessarily have to plan for a csection next time, although there are appealing aspects - you're not exhausted, you're well prepared, no one is freaking out... I'm finally listening and hearing these arguments. But he says I should try for a vbac if I want to. There are new recommendations from ACOG, and he actually does do vbacs, which is why he is popular with his patients. A lot of OBs might say they do vbacs, but then don't really. He really does them.

I say what I'm envisioning is maybe try labor for 8 hours and see if I make any progress at all. He likes this plan and says with a patient like me, he's more than happy with that. Its the women who come in here and tell him that they will not feel fulfilled as a woman unless they push a baby out their vagina - those women scare him on vbacs because when its time to do the csection they will fight him tooth and nail, and that puts him in a horrible position. He could get sued either way with a woman like that. Think about it.

So it turns out the more you insist on a vbac and dig in your heels and pine for one... the less doctors want to work with you.

Me... at this point it seems like the proper thing to try as plan A. Its still best for the baby, best for my recovery time... its the way things are supposed to be. But I'm not eager to repeat my last labor experience. If after 8 hours it seems likely we're headed to endless, fruitless pain with a knife at the end, lets cut straight to the knife. It was not. that. bad.

But I'm wayyy ahead of myself here. I came in for an IUD to prevent this all from happening for awhile... Is an IUD crunchy? I have no idea. I think crunchy is charting and taking your temp all the time... Well... we're getting an IUD.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


November 13, 2010 - the last day I had all the answers.

And then I had a baby. That was 15 weeks ago today. The midwife said I was one of the most well-researched and prepared mommas she had ever attended. This was supposed to make me feel better about going to the hospital when my home water birth just wasn't happening. And it did.

Note to the hopeful home birthers out there: Please have a back-up hospital CLOSE by. Luckily, I did, just 4 miles away, but those are loooong miles while having contractions and every bump brings on another one. You can't sit while having contractions and you just have to go to your happy zen place in your mind at the stoplights because every single one of them will be red on the way...

So there I was, at stoplight after stoplight holding myself up on all fours awkwardly in the car on the way to the hospital, feeling better that at least I had done everything possible to avoid this very situation. I guess it was therefore entirely unavoidable. And so were my loud low-pitched vocalizations with every pain. You can't help it. There's no point keeping it in. I know those guys in the truck next us can hear me, probably wondering who's killing that poor disheveled girl. It's an 8 pounder named Parker, thank you very much. We're about to be introduced.

Inside I'm going through my checklist. Don't let them do the eyedrops, or the Hep B vaccine, or the Vit K shot, and for God's sake, make sure they don't circ him as a matter of routine when we're not looking. But if I have to have pitocin, God help me, I will have that epidural. I can't take this plus pitocin. It's not happening.

They drop me in the carport with DH and my father while my mom goes to park. I can't read at this point. I'm in the lobby and two men are trying to figure out where to take me, asking the desk guy who seems very clueless and as I realize we don't know where we are going, I have a huge contraction and start howling. Maybe that will help the desk guy figure it out... Finally a wheelchair appears and we end up in an elevator, down a hallway, through the glass doors and in a hospital room with tubes and machines. And nice people with kind faces.

21 hours? poor thing. the anaesthetist is on his way and dr m will be here shortly let me just take her vitals and sign this paperwork. I can't read. you want me to write? just do the best you can. where's my attorney? wait, don't say that... you're about to either die or get an epidural, shut about about reading the fine print. i scribble, they proceed. the anaesthetist walks in and he is the most beautiful human being on the planet. I know the epidural placement can be uncomfortable, but who cares? It will ease the contractions which are k.i.l.l.i.n.g me. It's a minor prick. then cold. then relief, sweet relief. then uncontrollable shaking, then the heartrate on the baby dips. We all hear it. The OB says your baby is not doing well, we need to get him out now. My doula says you can always ask for more time. I ask for more time. my midwife gets in my face and tells me the decels are serious and if we had heard decels like that at home, it would have been an ambulance ride. I can see in her face that its time to consent and get the c-section.

I had had a feeling if I stepped through the doors of a hospital, it was likely to be a c-section. The pain eventually made the decision to go to the hospital more palatable. After 21 hours and all the midwives tricks to strengthen contractions and only dilating 1 inch. 1 inch. She said it was time to go. My first thought - epidural. And the mad dash to pack up and go began.

I had to take a second tho to cry for my mother in the most pitiful way. I literally said "I want my mommy" and she ran over to me, and we cried. I heard one of the midwives stifle a cry too. They all said I was so brave.

By the time they wheeled me into the OR I was very zen and accepting about the whole situation. DH, however. I had never seen him so pale. I was telling him, from the gurney, that everything was going to be OK. And I knew it would be. Baby was doing fine at home, until just a few minutes ago, right when I got the epidural. They do csections every day. Baby will be out in five minutes. Oh gosh can I still have my placenta encapsulated? The OB tells me she is giving me the best kind of csection for a vbac if I want one later. I can't believe she just said that. I instantly trust her more. She must be a really good person to say that to me when she was obviously so annoyed that I went to 42 weeks and tried a homebirth, then showed up on her shift to possibly end her career. She doesn't know my dad would practically disown me if I sued.

I hear her say something about thick thick meconium. That makes me sad. That means the baby was stressed. But again, not for long. I think that rules out the placenta eating. That makes me sad again. Can they let the cord pulse? No. Again, sad. Just another advantage I can't give this baby. I hear him cry. DH and I look at eachother and smile. He seems extraordinarily relieved. I learned later it was because he interpreted something the doctor said to mean that I or the baby were going to die. I didn't hear it that way...

They bring the baby over to me and I crane my head to see him. He had a lot of hair. I barely glimpsed his face. As per our agreed upon arrangement, DH stays with the baby and leaves me. I'm ok tho.

In a few hours they bring the baby to me to hold and I don't feel ready. He's a fragile little person. I'm a fragile little person. Somehow it doesn't feel safe to hold him, but they insist and I do and he really is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. But I'm tired and tender and in a lot of pain. I'm happy to have his daddy or his grandparents hold him for now.

In spite of my paranoia, the hospital staff really are kind and supportive. We keep telling them not to circ him, and they keep agreeing not to. We get a pass on the Hep B and the eye ointment, but they insist about the Vitamin K. We are convinced to allow it.

The nurses are helpful about breastfeeding. It seems to take 6 hands and as many pillows at first, but his latch is good. It starts to hurt after just a few tries.

My mom shows me all her cute Parker pics on her camera. I thumb through them and get to the pic she took of the birth pool at home and I start to cry uncontrollably. I make a prima donna request for them to please have it gone when I get home. I can't see it there. I can't take it.

It's good not to have any pride or modesty when you have a csection in the hospital. There are a lot of strangers who will change your dressings, change your massive chux pads, walk in on you breastfeeding, etc.

The worst day is the next day, painwise. They want you to get up and walk so soon. They are very interested in your farting.

So that's where I'm coming from, basically. Crunchy dreams, soggy reality. And if you've read this far, welcome to my blog.