Monday, August 31, 2009

Ride my Roller Coaster

On the same day we found out about Bambina's potential gene disorder I got some really awesome news. Obviously, it has taken second seat but it's still nice.

Now, I could be compromising my anonymity by telling you the award but what the hell. (OK, I really suck at maintaining it with the picture posting, real name slips etc).

I have been selected as one of "Native American 40 Under 40". The recipients are "outstanding young Native Americans who have shown excellence in community and/or profession.... who are already playing a significant role in shaping Indian Country for the future."

This is the first year of the award. Embarrassingly I nominated myself. I wrote the nomination letter and had a friend "nominate" me so it didn't look so bad. Not in a million years did I think I'd be selected. This award seems so geared towards reservation-living Indians and those who work in Indian communities. I do neither.

The awards ceremony is in Tulsa. I am thinking of flying out there for the night. It would be hard to manage with the toddler and newborn plus I have a huge presentation at work that morning (Yes, I have to prepare it and present it on my maternity leave) but I really want to go. I'd also have to be able to fit into a formal dress by then. I really don't want to buy anything new when I have many beautiful dresses in my closet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

No news yet

No news yet on the 2nd blood test.

Thanks for all your kind words, thoughts and prayers. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

To address a few comments:

areyoukiddingme: Yes, I would let the clinic know. Anyone using this donor should know that this information. It's only an issues if the sperm donor is also a carrier.

amasingk8: I read the false positive rate was high but I didn't know how high.

Ophelia: Thankfully our insurance will cover formula/food/ and other interventions. We are so lucky. Not to get all political but everyone should have health care. It's a human right. Medicaid for all.

D----y: Thank you! It's helpful to hear of stories where people lead relatively normal lives. To actually know someone who is managing this would be helpful.

Em: Thanks so much. Yes, the medical sites freak me out. The ones that are more family/lifestyle based are much more helpful. My main concerns have been if she could have normal intelligence and is she'd have behavioral problems. I think it has something to do with the severity of the condition and how well you monitor/stay on the diet. Thank you so much for reaching out to a perfect stranger. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you did and that you can manage it well.


Other thoughts/concerns: More kids and Embryo Donation

I have wanted a 3rd child. Mr. Peeveme says we are done. That was not a fight I was going to fight right now but one I was not going to loose. We have 7 embys just waiting. We have had to work so hard to have our children....this one would be an easy FET. How could we not? But they all have a chance of having PKU....kind-of puts a kink into those plans. Also, while Mr. Peeveme and I have not decided what to do with the leftover would also put a kink in those potential plans as well.

Does PGD test for PKU?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Phenylketonuria (PKU) - In the "Spoke Too Soon" Department

There's no easy way to say it...unless you use the acronym. Got the word that Bambina tested positive for PKU, a genetic disorder. People with PKU lack an enzyme to process a certain protein. It builds up and becomes toxic and can cause mental retardation if untreated. In many cases in it's manageable with a lifelong low-protein diet and regular blood checks. She'd start on a special (expensive) formula. I might be able to continue to breastfeed if her levels don't get too high and she tolerates it well. But in some cases it's not possible to keep the levels low enough to stop the progression.

We are waiting the results of the second blood test. Trying not to panic or get too ahead of ourselves but this certainly would mean a lot of changes and difficulty for our family. It's not what a parent wants for their child.

It seems that false positives are not uncommon so we are holding out hope that this will amount to nothing more than a little scare that we will forget about years from now. Reasons for false positives (other than lab errors) are thick blood (she had to repeat one blood test because her blood clotted to quickly,...not sure that means her blood is thick but it might) and liver problem (she was jaundiced at the time of her test). Only 25 babies per year are born in California with PKU. Both "parents" must have the recessive gene and even then you only have a 25% chance of the child getting it. Which brings us to the DE portion of this situation.

The DE thing is just another twist on this. It does not make me any more or less sad but it's just something to to think about. If it were my genetics that would be that but we chose this person....I don't know why it feels different but it does. I'm not mad. I don't feel any more or less guilty because I could not have know's just the luck of the draw but the 3rd person thing just adds another layer. I'm not articulating it well.

The other crazy thing is that my mom is here this week. She does not know that we used Donor Eggs. She keeps going over and over in her mind and out aloud who may be Jewish in our family tree and how may generations back it was. Don't ask me why because from what I have read being Jewish has nothing to do with it and being American Indian is a more likely reason (if I were the genetic mother). I keep trying to deflect and redirect her thinking. She also has early stage Alzheimer's so it's pretty-much a constant and recurring conversation.

Mom: How come this has never shown up before? I wonder how the gene could have made it past that many generations? etc... (Dude, the woman can not remember where we keep the knives but she knows every great-great grand parent on the family tree and where they were born)

Me: I guess we'll never know and honestly it does not really matter. What matters is how we deal with it for Bambina. I don't care about being a good genetic donor...I care about being a good parent. It's about how we deal with this in the future not how we got here.

Mom: I wonder why nobody in our family has even had this?
Me: Maybe they have. Brain damage would explain a lot about some of your family.

And the first person I called when I got the news? Mr. Peeveme? Nope. What's he going to do? Change his genetic code? My sisters? Even they'd tell you they don't know shit about genetics. I called my super-cool friend who happens to be a genetic counselor. She dropped everything to give me a really good web address about the condition and read some of the information to me as I drove to the lab for a blood test. Thanks so much AC.

So if you are the praying type keep us in your prayers. If you are the thinking type...think positive thought...make that think false-positive thoughts.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It doesn't matter and I'm not looking back

Those are the words I have heard (read) from other DE mommies. I have not been at that place...or if I was I have gone back and forth between "It doesn't matter" to "I might have made a mistake" to "What does this all mean?"

I have tried to honestly convey my struggles with DE in a series of posts which I would link to if I were not so lazy. I did this to help others and to work through my own shit. I have thought about it from many different angles. Considered the pros and cons. Dealt (dealing) with my own emotions of loss, excitement, gratitude, insecurity. All the time I knew love would take over and it has.

Right now I can honestly say I am not looking back. I am aware that she in not my genetic material but that does not mater one bit.

Not only am I ok with that...I am thrilled because I could not love this little being more. She could not be more perfect.

Top of my list

With so much to be thankful for it might seem a little strange that stool softener is near the top of my list...but thank goodness for those little orange pills.

But you MUST pay attention to the dosage recommendations AND keep track of the last time you took one instead of taking one whenever you thought it might be time for another. Stool softeners are one of those things in life where a little is great but too much....whoops! I almost busted a stitch running to the bathroom. So my year-long "no crapping myself" streak is still in tact but just barely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just a few pics * Pictures redacted* It was a litmited time offer Folks.

She came out a little bruised.

Much better by 2 days

5 days

After 3 looong days they finally let us go home...huge post about that later.

That's it for now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

She's here!

Bambina was born on aug 19, 2009 at 9:41pm. She's perfect. I can't believe she's asleep on my lap.
Induced. No epi. Was able to turn off pitocine after they broke my water. I have two huge black eyes again. More later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time's up! Your having a baby

I am officially 12 days overdue. More overdue with my 2nd baby than with my first. I am about 90% effaced and almost 3 cm...but I doubt anything will really happen before I am scheduled to be induced. I think if they gave me a few more days I would go into labor on my own. I'm just a slow starter.

Induction is set for tomorrow morning and if anyone who has volunteered for an epidural or membrane stripping or had any other intervention tells me I can refuse, I swear I will reach through the internet and give you a titty twister. Unless you have been in the situation of actually refusing intervention you are in no position to pass judgment. None. I am however, open too all suggestions about how to better manage an induction...negotiation pointers ect.

(I chose titty twisting because I am all about nipple stimulation these days...trying to get my labor started).

There are certain things that a hospital considers non-negotiable and induction at 13 days past due is one of them (at my practice). I have held them off for as long as possible. My time is up.

Now, before I get accused (again) of harming my baby I'd like to make a few points which seem obvious but apparently are not for some.

1) Baby and I are being closely monitored. Twice weekly stress tests and u/s to check amniotic fluid. I am doing 3 or 4 kick counts a day.

2) Statistically there is no health difference between having a baby at say 38 weeks than 41 weeks. No reason to believe that any harm will come from being overdue a little. The health issues seem to be if you go over 42 weeks. I am not sure why everyone seems to think it some sort of tragedy to go over a due date. It's fine. It's not dangerous as long as mommy and baby are healthy...which we are.

I am amazed at how uncomfortable or even accusatory people get once they learn you are at or over your due date. Man, I get lots of unsolicited (and inaccurate) advice about how to get labor going. Even worse I get told how "dangerous" it is. Yes, that's what you should do...try to scare a pregnant lady into labor with all your inaccurate, uninformed, hyperbolic opinions


So here's where I could use some help.

All my labor preferences (thanks, Birdee) have been for a completely natural labor and delivery, total avoidance of any interventions. that I am being induced I may need to rethink that. For example, breaking of the waters. My first reaction is "no way" but when I think about it...if I am on Pitocin anyhow maybe breaking my waters would kick in my natural labor so that I could turn the Pitocin down or off? I have no idea about this. I haven't researched it and I haven't seen a whole lot on how to induce as gently as possible. It seems like all the information about natural childbirth assumes no induction which, I guess, makes sense. It also seems like once you start and induction protocol there is little room for negotiation or individual choice. How does one get induced and minimize risk to baby and avoid artificial pain management?

Again... we are assuming health and lack of complications. I'm not an idiot. Of course, my goal is a live baby...I didn't think I needed to state that but apparently I do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Black Eyes

As mentioned I pushed for a long time (longer than most unmedicated births). She was sunny side up and I think that was a large part if it. It can make pushing take longer becasue it's just not as effective.

After she was born I noticed I was having trouble seeing but with all the excitement I didn't think anything of it.

After a while in the Labor and Delivery room they wheel you to a recovery room. You are in a wheel chair, holding your baby and everyone in the hallway waves and's what being a prom queen must feel like. So there I am grinning, waving back, accepting my accolades.

A few hours later a go to the bathroom and look at myself for the first time. I screamed! I had two HUGE black eyes. And nobody told me! All the blood vessels in the whites of my eyes had popped and were and angry shade of red. My eyelids and under-eyes were practically swollen shut! After a few hours they turned into lovely bruises.

And then I remember my little prom-queen ride and felt like and idiot. I was completely clueless. I looked more like prize fighter than a prom queen.

I took this picture about 3 days after so you are not getting the full effect but you get the idea.

And in the "be careful what you wish for" category Mr. Peeveme and I used to joke around about how while I didn't want any artificial pain management I didn't want to feel the pain so maybe he could just punch me in the face and knock me out. No drugs and I'd be unconscious so I wouldn't feel the pain. We laughed and laughed at how one would put that in the birth plan.

And then I came out with two big shiners!


This time I will try to visualize pushing DOWN lower rather than up through my head. Not sure if there would be any true effect but it seems lot of pressure was going up into my face and not down into my pushing parts.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things I learned from my Unmedicated Labor and Delivery with Induction

I learned quit a bit from my experience. This post is for those who really want to do unmedicated labor and delivery. It's certainly not a post for everyone. It's my honest assessment of what I wish I had known and the things that helped me achieve my goal of unmedicated labor and delivery despite being aggressively induced.

-My goal had been to have an unmedicated labor and delivery and I met that goal. So why did I feel like such a failure? I think, along with my goal of natural birth I also developed some expectations that were somewhat unrealistic. Ok maybe not unrealistic but certainly inflexible. When those did not materialize I felt like a failure. I expected it to go faster. I expected to be more "present" and have the "birth experience" I wanted. That did not happen. I felt I had been sold a bill of goods. I felt I behaved poorly or must have done it wrong becasue mine did not feel like the "zen" experience the books described. Looking back I realize it's not the fault of "natural" childbirth that mine was not "zen". However, the books need to do a better job at leveling with women just how much pain they are in for. They tend to minimize it, in my opinion. Of course, my labor being induced probably had a lot to do with that but even those women who are not induced say it much more difficult than the books lead you to believe. Not all but many.

I met my goal with pure grit. I'm not saying I had the wrong goal becasue I absolutely believe it's the safest option but I also brought some unrealistic and inflexible expectations into the situation which lead me to feel disappointed, angry and depressed about my birth experience immediately afterward. Not anymore. I have the experience firmly in perspective. I do feel proud of making it through but for months after I felt like a failure even though I met my goal becasue I yelled, screamed, panicked, became weak, indecisive, vulnerable. I expected to be clam, stoic, present, level-headed. Yep, during unmedicated labor and delivery. Totally unrealistic.

-I was not prepared for induction...not mentally, not physically, and mostly I did not have the information I would have needed to make better decisions. Yes, I have the right to make my own medial decisions. I did not have to simply acquiesce to their protocols. However, I didn't even know what my options were so I had nothing to contribute. No ideas, no requests. I was just a sitting duck. More on my induction recommendations later.

I absolutely want to have another unmedicated labor and delivery but if I am induced I am not sure I could/would be able to do that again. If you want an unmedicated birth option you CAN do it even while induced. It's possible but I'm not sure I'd want to or could do it again. It completely changes the game. As long as one is mentally prepared for that I think it's possible.

This is why I am avoiding induction at all costs. If my water breaks again I am not goign straight to the hospital. I'm going to wait around a bit and see if labor really kicks in. I might not even be honest with them about the time my water broke. Once your water breaks the clock starts as do their "protocols". This is not medical advice. Just my personal strategy.

-If I must be induced I have a whole new understanding of how I think it should be approached. I have no doubt that they were overly aggressive inducing me. To go from 0 to 10cm in a few hours....3 min contractions 1 min apart is completely unnecessary and potentially dangerous. I will firmly request to have a gentle-as-possible induction. Low doses. No increasing until at least 30 mins has passed. Once the desired pattern of contractions has been achieved they should turn it down or off. If there is any fetal distress then TURN OFF the pitocin and see if that helps. Never go beyond the recommended dosages on the packaging of the drug.

-If you really want to go unmedicated then you have to put the option of artificial pain management out of your mind. If you approach it with the attitude of "I will try it" then you will fail. Without complete commitment you WILL ask for the drugs...especially if they are offered. If you are undecided then ok...try it...but if you are committed you have to just not even think of drugs. Put it in your birth plan that the staff is not to offer drugs.

-Expanding upon the previous point...have it in your birth plan that the staff is not to mention drugs, or other interventions (vacuum, c-section, induction medications) unless it's an absolute emergency. When you are in the middle of it you will be tired, indecisive, vulnerable, scared, and in pain. If anyone mentions an alternative you might cave. You might think something is wrong when, in fact, feeling tried, indecisive, vulnerable, scared, and in pain are all NORMAL. No matter how well meaning, they should not offer. This applies to your husband as well. He will hate to see you this way. It's up to him to help you. He doesn't help you by offering you the thing you are wanting to avoid. He has to be strong for you becasue there WILL be a time when you think you can't do this anymore; that you just want it over with. He needs to be the one to get you past those self defeating thoughts. You will not be able to do that for yourself.

-I actually wrote out 3x5 cards for Mr. Peeveme with all the things he needed to say to me when I lost it. I made him promise to keep me strong. I made him read those cards to my own words. When I heard them it helped to remind me of the strong determination I have. It helped me a lot when I had no more determination or fight in me.

OK, so that's what I have for now. My friend who introduced me to unmedicated labor was the only person who level with me and gave me any inkling of what was in store. Because of her I was able to do it. If I had just depended on the books I would not have made it. So I wanted to level with you.

As hard as it is, it's still my choice. I know there are easier ways to go about it. I know that many people will read this and think "Why on earth would you put yourself though that if you can just have an epi or a c-section" My response, I'm afraid, might offend or hurt some people but here it is: This pregnancy, labor and birth is not about me. It's about my baby. It's about what is best for her. This is the first of many sacrifices I will make for her.

I am a little worried this time around because I am not feeling as strong (mentally and physically) going into this one as I was the last time. It was just so grueling that I don't know that I could or would be able to do that again.

My inflexible goals/expectations lead me to some disappointment with myself afterward so I am trying to manage determination with a certain amount of flexibility as to my expectations.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The First Time Part 2- Unmedicated Birth Story

This is the birth story from the birth of my first child. In anticipation of the 2nd's arrival I wanted to reminisce and compare.

Since Peeveme women can hardly make it to the hospital in time AND my waters had broken I thought for sure I'd be having Piccolina in no time. Imagine my surprise when I ended up laboring all night with unproductive contractions. They weren't THAT bad but enough that I could not sleep. Mr. Peeveme BTW slept great all night. I did my best to walk, nipple stimulation ect to get labor going but it was no use. (Thanks, Melissia for reminding me of the ways to naturally induce labor. I had forgotten some things in the past 3 years).

They wanted to start the pitocin at about 4 am. I declined. They wanted to start it again at 6am. I bargained for more time. By 9 am I had held them off for as long as I could. The drip was started. Being step B positive I already had the IV and had been given two rounds of antibiotics.

Until then, my contractions were irregular but on average 8-10 mins apart and maybe 30-40 seconds. Not productive at all. Before, I was managing the pain with breathing...within moments of the pitocin drip I had my first pitocin contraction. It lasted 3 mins and was sooo painful all I could do was scream "Oh FUCK" at the top of my lungs. For 3 mins. Then I had about a 1 min break...and the next 3 min contraction started.

We begged them to turn it down. They did for a while but I swear they'd sneak in and turn it up without telling us. It was absolute torture. There is no other way to describe it.

You know how most people talk about long labors are hard. I gotta tell's the short ones that are the most painful. I know long labors are exhausting but the pain in a short labor is so much more intense. Plus, I had been up all the night before with unproductive labor so I was going into this a bit tired.

I was not effaced and had little dilation when they started the pitocin. At some point my doula arrived. The entire thing is just a blur of panic and pain...and being pissed off because I felt they were being way too aggressive with the induction. At 11:50 I was really doubting my ability to continue and wanted to be checked. I was to 5cm and the baby was at 0 station. I was crushed. Surely I was in transition. Everything I had read about labor (early, active, transition) I felt like I was in transition the entire time...and that usually only lasts short time...not hours. So when I realized that not only was I only half way there but that it would get ever MORE intense...I was really scarred. I had already decided that there was no way I was doing an epi so I never felt tempted. I was just scarred and discouraged but still determined. I gotta say that I was not once tempted to ask for drugs. I simply put that possibility out of my mind.

The stages of labor come with "sign posts". Early labor is exciting. In active labor the woman is serious (and it;s time to go to the hospital). In transition (the last few cm's before pushing) the women has self doubt. I felt like I was in that self doubt phase the entire time. I skipped the first two phases and had a super long feeling of transitional labor. I blame the aggressive induction.

Everyone was awesome, Mr. Peeveme, my doula, the mid-wife, the nurses. They all reassuring me that I was doing great...that I could do this...that it would not be much longer...that we were indeed making progress.

At 12:45 they checked me again. At this point I was just play-doh. I had little will to do anything or make any decisions. Contractions were on top of each other and more intense than I can possibly describe. The closest I can come is to say it felt like my entire belly and back felt like it was in a vice. Finally, the nurse said I was 10 cm and ok to push. I started to push for about 15 mins. The midwife checked me again and noticed that I was not all the way dilated. Crap. That is the kiss of death. Pushing when not dilated can cause swelling...and make delivery even harder. I was practically inconsolable. If I didn't feel so beaten I would have been pissed off. For 20 mins I had to NOT push through pushing contractions. If I thought pushing was hard...not pushing was even harder.

Finally at 1:20 I was given the ok to push again. I did every position in the book laying on my side, squatting (which I hated), facing Mr. Peeveme on his lap (which he hated).

I remember looking at Mr. Peeveme and crying, "I'm not a Peeveme, I'm not a real Peeveme", because Peeveme woman have fast labors and mine was taking forever.

We pushed for a long time especially considering this was an unmediated birth. Part of the reason I like the non-medicated birth option was that it's supposed to go faster therefore being less traumatic on the baby. At 3pm the mid-wife checked me again. Picconlina had moved down to +3/+4 position. But she was sunny-side up. Crap again! This was of great concern for me and the reason my pushing was lasting so long. Again, everyone reassured me that babies could be born this way or that she could turn. I, however, was upset that this was not going well. I was having the types of minor complications that were making things much harder than they were for other people. Why the hell do I have to do everything the hard way?

At this point Piccolina's heart rate kept going down quite a bit during the contractions (Maybe if you'd turn down the pitocin!) So out came the oxygen mask. When I turned on my side and had oxygen it seemed to help her heart rate.

At one point the Dr. came in and I freaked out. At this hospital the mid-wives do the births. The Dr.s only come when something is wrong. After a short consult with the mid-wife he left. The babies heart rate was not recovering between contraction. This is when many c-sections take place. This is where many parents panic and cave into intervention if they do not have the kind of medical care that encourages natural birth. Thankfully, this hospital and my mid-wife were supportive and reassuring. My mid-wife came up to my head to talk to me. I was beginning to feel done, completely spent. She looked me square in the eyes and told me I needed to push. I was close. I could do this and, in fact, I HAD to do this.

Finally at 3:32, Piccolina was born (anterior position). She was covered in vernix, she had a full head of dark, long hair. The placenta showed no singes of aging. She showed no signs of being 12 days past the due date. 7 lbs, 5 ounces. Wide awake and very alter.

Picconlina Born, Aug 11th, 2006

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The first time Part 1

The first time I went into labor I had a spontaneous breaking of my waters. It was about 10pm and I was in bed. I heard a little pop and then felt some fluid. It wasn't a gush but more than a trickle. So I got up and went to the bathroom. When I did that the trickle stopped (baby's head stopped it up like a cork). So I got back into bed. When I did I felt a good amount of fluid and knew it was not just me peeing myself again.

I knew from my classes that the L&D staff would want to test to fluid to make sure it was amniotic fluid. So I gathered up one of those pee vials I use to bring in my "sample" at each pre-natal appointment. It never occurred to me that they would test the fluid coming out from it's source. Mr. Peeveme and I got dressed and drove to the hospital.

I made it into triage. They told me they would like to test the fluid and in one graceful move I reached into my purse and produced my perfect little vial of clear-pink-ish fluid. I held it out to the two nurses who just stood there staring at it. Not moving...not talking. They just stood here...midway through pulling on their latex gloves all perplexed looking. My arm still outstretched. Finally, one of them asked, "What is that?"

I replied, "The amniotic fluid". Still nothing..."Don't you need to test it?".

They looked at each other and just started laughing. I had no idea what was so funny but I smiled along becasue well...what else was I supposed to do?

"We have never seen amniotic fluid. How did you get it in that little vial?".

Me, " does everyone else bring in their fluid? I used a Dixie cup first"

They kindly explained how it's normally done. And then I felt silly. I honestly thought it would all leak out and that there would be nothing left to test so I wanted to capture some. Wrong.

After a little monitoring in the triage we were admitted and sent to a room. I assured myself, Mr. Peeveme and the nurses that we'd be having this baby in a few hours. Peeveme women always have fast labors.

Wrong again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unmedicated Birth 2


Thank you so much for your comment. Especially rewriting it so that it clearly reflected your's so hard to write about controversial and personal things.

Yes, I did write as though all women who get c-sections are unthinking and careless. No, I do not think all women who gate c-sections are that way. I do understand that there are many different reasons but the only ones I find problematic are the ones that I think are done for convenience rather than being medically necessary.

C-sections are not evil and many women do have legitimate medical reasons why they are necessarily. You are certainly one of them. But I see your situation as very different from most. The fact that you wish you didn't have to have one makes your situation so very different.

Your point about the "lecturing" you get is very well taken and I agree that is the case. This is one of many areas in which people can get holier than thou and I am no exception. Sorry you have had to endure it. That has got to be really annoying. Yes, we can get preachy about it but I don't think this "education" is directed at those who do understand the larger medical issues involved and have a medical reason for needed a c-section even if you are on the receiving end of it.

Sorry if I came off judging all c-sections and medicated labors.

There are those women who just want a c-section (and all the other interventions like membrane stripping, epidurals ect), don't know and don't want to know about any risks. In truth, I do judge this behavior. These are often the same women who are dismissive or anyone who chooses unmedicated labors. Not all but the means ones usually fall into this category.

Then there are those who were mid-labor but interventions led to a c-section that might not have been necessary. I don't judge this but I also think that most of these could have been avoided if the initial interventions had been avoided OR if their medical providers weren't eager to conduct c-sections (I think they are trying to avoid any problems and malpractice suits). I think many of these women end up feeling like a failure and that's too bad. When you are in that position of being tired, panicked,'s more than understandable to just do whatever your D.r suggests. This is when I do get preachy...not that the woman made a mistake but that her Dr's did her a disservice by sticking to the protocols and not helping the woman to have the labor she wanted.

There are also those c-sections that are medically necessary. I include twins in this (however there are many women who deliver twins just fine vaginally..but wow...I can't even imagine the type of strength and endurance that would take). However, I think this situation is rarer than the first two.

So, I guess my first post was more about woman who do not do any research and yet are dismissive and actually very mean to anyone who even attempts an unmedicated labor and delivery. From the comments here it happens a lot.

I hope that helps a bit. I also have learned not to assume every c-section is unthinking and to hold my judgment (and my tongue). Unless someone dare be dismissive of my choice....then they are going to get it right back.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My cervix is a dirty liar

It's the exact same as it was a week ago (75% effaced, almost 2 cm). I knew it. The mid-wife (who swore I'd have this baby this past weekend) was surprised to see me. She did give me some "I told you so credit" which was nice.

No worries...I am not at all anxious and I'm not ready to do anything to move things along. 4 days over due is not that big of a deal.

To my Little Girl on the Eve of her Birth

Or maybe the fortnight...who knows when you will finally arrive!

As anxious as I am to hold you in my arms I am very calm and happy to still have you all to myself. To be this connected to you. To feel your every move, breath for you, eat for you and sustain you in such a literal manner. Soon you will be outside and Pappa, sister, Nonna, Nonno, Abuelita, Grandfather, aunts, uncles and everyone else is going to get their hands on you. But for now you are just mine.

I have wanted you for so long I don't mind waiting a few more days for you to arrive. Everyone else is so anxious but I know you will come when you are ready.

I love that you kick me in the ribs whenever I bend over or lean forward to claim your space. You are most active after dinner and at about 3 in the morning. Seeing your foot stretch across my belly never gets old even if it hurts. I say to you, "Ok, Bambina, get comfortable already please". Or sometimes, "Good Lord, Bambina, give it up already". But I never tire of it.

Most nights we eat a big bowl of non-fat yogurt with vanilla granola. We love it. You also seem to really want me to eat fruit all the time. At least that is what I have been craving this pregnancy.

Your big sister wants to be called Baby Bambina instead of her own name. She's anxious for you to sit next to her in your car seat. She's going to be a little jealous of you for a while but it will pass and I hope the two of you will be life- long friends. My best friends have always been my sisters.

I am your Mamma and you are my child. I love you more than I can describe. The circumstances surrounding your life are little more complex than most but those facts will always be true.

As we discover who you are and navigate our way through life as a family, there is so much I want for you. I want you to know you are loved, you have connections and draw strength from multiple family trees, you are complete just the way you are. Whatever life brings, you stand on a solid foundation. Many times I will want time to stand still so I can hold you a little longer but mostly I can not wait to see you grow into the person you are to become. My purpose is to let you discover your purpose. And while these are my last few days and hours of being your literal life-line, as your mother, my life is devoted to yours.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Unmedicated Birth

I have chosen an unmediated labor and birth. I did it the first time and will do it again this time (unless there is a real medical emergency).

I wasn't always into this. At one point I was "leave the medical decisions to the Dr.s...I'll just do whatever they tell me to do" type. And then I started to read, and question, and learn. I friend of mine was a few weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy. She was doing the Bradly Method. We were walking buddies and I started to ask her lots of questions. She never judged, got preachy, or lectured. She simply relayed factual information. The more I learned the more I wanted to know.

There are many very good reasons for choosing the unmediated option. For me, I think the most compelling is that I think it's the safest option for the baby. This is not be judgmental and preachy to those who choose to medicate the route. Believe me...I understand pain and I do not like it. (read my 1st labor story in an upcoming post).

This is why I believe in unmediated labor and birth:

Every intervention is statistically more likely to lead to the next intervention. Induction leads to epidurals. Epidurals can make labor longer. Longer labors exhaust the mother. Exhausted mothers cave into pressure for other interventions such as vacuums, c-sections. Please don't comment about yours or some else's individual experience. I am talking about the actual evidence. Individual experience if fine but when making medical decisions one should consider the actual medical studies not your friend's, cousin's experience.

There is a reason why unmediated labors do not end up in c-sections as often as medicated ones. Again, not judging...just stating facts. While c-sections are considered routine nowadays it's still major surgery and entails risks to both mother and baby. I am sometimes amazed that the same pregnant ladies who wont let a drop of caffeine pass their lips just go head and let Dr.'s do things to them that they don't know the risks of. I understand that we are lead to trust our Dr.s and discouraged to ask questions. They are the authority figure. We are the novice. But we'll check the ingredients of baby food, watch for re-call information on our car seats but when it comes to birth we literally lay back and let someone else make the decisions without understanding what is being done and what the risks are.

I am not a granola eating, hairy-legged hippie-chick as we or often judged to be. Although I do eat granola a lot...but that's just because I need a snack and it's better for me the Oreos....and my legs have not been shaved in months...but that's just because I can't see or reach them and I just don't care.

You don't have to be "granola" to choose unmediated birth (Although I do wonder what's so bad about being granola anyhow). I am also aware that I am sounding like I need to defend my decision. As much as those who choose medicated labor feel judged, on the Internets and in person I have found much more judgment and dismissiveness of those of us who choose unmediated labors. So much so that I even hide the fact that this is my choice because I get instant judgment and disapproval 9 times out of 10.

I just think women need to make an educated choice. If you have done your homework, know the risks and feel medicated birth is the best option for you and your baby then more power to you. What I take umbrage with is when women who have never done any research are dismissive and judgmental of those of us who do choose unmediated births. I know you feel judged but I gotta goes both ways.

Now, I love you all. Kiss, kiss. Do your thing and let's not worry about what other people think.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stats dork on the loose

So Mr. Peeveme and I were trying to calculate my chances of going into labor on any given day from here on out.

Since 10% of births happen on the due date I guess I have 10% chance of giving birth today....but if I were to give birth today I would probably have started labor last night so...I'm probably out for today.

OK so I have 90% chance of going into labor and having a baby in the next 12 days. (assuming the statistic that 10% of births go beyond 42 weeks is accurate...which I doubt but that's another story). So if we assume an equal probability each day we get 7.5% chance per day. But it wont be the same each day...the chances will increase each day past the due date. So, in true statistical dork fashion I have calculated the following.

Due date = 7.5% chance
+1 past due date (Friday) = 8.1%
+2 = 9%
+3 = 10%
+4 = 11.25%
+5 = 12.8%
+6 = 15%
+7 = 18%
+8 = 22.5%
+9 = 30%
+10 = 50%
+11 = 90%

My methodology is admittedly crude but it works for me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

39 weeks Update

Still chillin'. I gain 1 lb in the last two weeks. I had been gaining 3-4 pounds every two weeks for the past few weeks. So I guess my weight gain has slowed (with Picconlina I gain A LOT of weight in my last two weeks). Baby is very low. It seems I am 75% effaced and about 1.5-2 cm dilated. Who knew? With Piccolina I had no effacement and no dilation at this point (or even a week past my due date). I know it does not necessarily mean anything but I am thinking this may happen soon than I had thought. I was convinced I had at least another good week, even a week and a half in me. Now I'm thinking it could happen this weekend? Still trying not to get ahead of myself. Still chillin but beginning to realize I'm having a baby.

Next appointment will be in one week and then we start the non -stress tests.

I'm just hoping no induction. Come whenever you are ready little girl, but don't make me come in there and get you!