Workshop #1 - Preconception, Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, and Midwifery - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 93 Old 04-19-2008, 02:22 AM
 
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I have taken all evening reading everyone's stories. Also debating writing about mine. I have never written about Paul's birth. It was just too hard to put into words.

First, I didn't do a lot before conceiving. We had been trying for a short while. The first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and I was pregnant again three months later. I was taking vitamins, pretty much the only thing I did to prepare.

For awhile I knew I wanted to homebirth and a natural birth. For me, it was birth that lead to NFL. Birth is where it all begins! I was raised by very mainstream parents who think sticking out is bad, so conformity was all I knew.

DH wasn't totally on board, but had the attitude that it was my body and I was going through birth so I should do it how I wanted.

Pregnancy went well. We picked a midwife that fit right between where I was (would have been fine with a UC) and where DH was (more medically minded at the time). We planned a homebirth. Halfway through pregnancy she had a tragic birth that really shook her. She said she couldn't do a home birth for us. We decided to stay with her. In the end, I was 42 weeks and forced into induction. We had been comfy waiting until 44, but her doctor said 42 was as far as she was willing to go.

DH and I almost didn't go to the appointment for induction. Seriously. I think we only went because we didn't know what else to do. We should have stayed home!

Of course you have the pitocin, the monitors. and all that. It was awful. I wasn't able to move. We started with some other medicine that I can't remember the name of and the pitocin started in the morning. At first it wasn't too bad. I HATED, just HATED the monitors. They wouldn't stay on and if I was in the bathroom too long the nurses came and bugged me about not having them on. (the bathroom was the only place I could get away from them). I wanted to move and not have that itchy crap on my belly. Things were moving slowly. I was hungry. They had been waiting for the doctor to get there for three hours to decide what to do next. She got there and I was not at all handling the contractions. I wanted all the people in my room to leave me alone so I could just cry and get it out of my system. I needed to cry and get past the horridness of being there and not at home. I needed to cry to get past feeling out of control. But I couldn't find my voice to tell them to leave. I was afraid of making them mad. I really just wanted to crawl into a whole and do my thing (this is what I had done with the miscarriage, totally alone at home in my own bed). So the doctor decided to break my water. I know at this point that i'll end up with a c-section because I can't handle this pain already, and I can see it in her eyes, that's what she wants.

This is where the meds start. First just something in my iv, then the epi. I hated myself. It was horrid. The internal monitor kept falling off his head, they had to poke him at least three times. I cried everytime I looked at his head for the first month (how long it took those spots to heal), and the internal contraction monitor hurt too. They thought I was crazy when i said I could feel very painful pressure from it.

Finally I was able to push, but of course I couldn't push right because I couldn't feel where to push. So they started with the heartbeat thing and we ended with a c-sec. I threw up. I wasn't able to hold him for a few hours because I couldn't feel my hands. A nurse (I wish I knew her name and I sure hope I thanked her) offered to hold him for me to nurse, he latched right on.

We had no problems after that with them following our plans. He was with us the whole stay. They did talk us into some test where they poked his heal because he was slightly, and I mean slightly jundice. Never again! On the second day the ped said we HAD to supplement because he was close to losing 10 percent of his birthweight. We had a great nurse that day and she totally handled it for us and stood up for our wishes. She put a note in his file and the ped came in and told us that we were going to end up having to stay longer if we didn't supplement. We didn't! My milk was in later that day. And i so wish I could have told her that just a week later, he had gained 14 ounces over his birth weight! Need to supplement my butt!

Recovery was so hard. It took a LONG, LONG, LONG time, and hurt a lot. I got PPD and almost ran away. I told Paul on numerous times that I was sorry that I couldn't take care of him and even more sorry that I had to leave. I still don't know what kept me from getting in the car, very glad I didn't though, sure I wouldn't be here now if I had.

Next time, home birth, no if ands or butts.

Julie

Julie ~ homesteading, Traditional Catholic, wife to Chip, mom to Angelbaby(4-06), DS (3-07), and DD (11-09).
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#62 of 93 Old 04-21-2008, 07:42 PM
 
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Wow Julie, I am glad you stayed and I am very sorry you had such a difficult birth. I am glad you have a wonderful son.
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#63 of 93 Old 04-21-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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I've always been very natural minded. I don't know if it's because I have Asperger's syndrome, but I decided to become a vegetarian at 4 years old when I found out what meat was. Many other things never made sense to me, like taking medication. If I had a fever, my mother always tried to give me Tylenol, or if I was sick, she would get antibiotics. I always asked what would happen if I did not take it. The answer was usually something like :'Well, you'll eventually get better, it might just take longer and you'll feel worse'. To me that's was not good enough, so I pretended to be allergic to every single antibiotics and other things of that nature. I really quickly noticed that people who were always sick and had a bunch of fancy diagnosis were not any different than other people, their mindset was just different. Asthma was popular back in elementary school. I remember having a conversation about it with another kid, asking him why he did not just make his parents quit smoking.

Anyhow, by the time I got pregnant (on purpose accident by my ex so no preparation), the thought of letting any kind of doctor approach me was ridiculous. I went to the local CLSC (some kind of clinic here in Canada, you know, UNIVERSAL' FREE HEALTH CARE!) and saw a youth nurse (I was 19) to get another pregnancy test and a referral for a midwife. The nurse handed me a whole pile of documentation on abortion (after I told her I was totally against that) and offered to make an appointment with a doctor. I repeated that I wanted a midwife and she gave me this look like I was nuts. She did not even know if they existed in Montreal. I just left and did my own research and found a birthing center (they are different than most US birth centers, they are where most midwifes operate from here, like clinics and they do births anywhere) where I managed to get a spot. The midwife I met with was great, with a very hands off approach. I remember that she said the words 'informed consent' at least 50 times during our initial meeting.

So I got the minimal tests done (STDs, diabetes(it runs in my family), some measuring, heartbeat and occasional blood pressure and iron (I was fainting a lot)), no ultraounds, or anything else. Most people were shocked and worried. For some reason, the fact that I did not get any ultrasound was like the end of the world. I really wondered how anyone came to believe that a routine ultrasound had any kind of value beyond knowing the sex and whether there is something that would make you want to abort.

The birth was awesome, about 2 hours start to finish, right on my due date. It started so fast and intense. I really thought that was the normal easy, early part of labour, even when I started pushing (out of my control), I was starting to panic, thinking I could never handle several more hours like that. I was not paying too much attention to what the midwife was saying, she was just hanging out a few steps back. So, when I felt pure burning and pain, she came with some oil for my perineum and told me to look at the head crowning, I did not understand. I was like 'what? already?'. So then she was born, I guided her out in my hands and put her on my stomach, she was looking for the breast, suckling air. I did not think to look at whether she was male or female (I am of the gender is a social construction school of thought, so I did not really care), but then I noticed she had 6 fingers (or more like 5 and a half) on each hand. I thought it was the most adorable thing ever. I had to have them removed (I waited about 3-4 months) because they were dangerous (it was basically the end part of a finger with a nail (which was growing) attached to the side of the hand next to pinkie by a long filament of skin and blood vessels). It would have got caught somewhere and ripped off, I had to constantly be careful. That is something I still do not feel completely good about the decision. I wish we could have kept those extra fingers.

So now, almost 4 years later, I am still nursing her (once again to the shock of many) and am planning for #2 with my new, perfect man. I have been trying to get in shape, making big muscles like Superman as my daughter likes to say. I don't do the whole prenatal vitamin thing, I just always make a point of eating healthy.

I find very sad that so many women go through an awful hospital experience before finding a more natural way. I used to wonder why prenatal classes did not exist for the 'oh, my god, I'm pregnant!' phase. It seems logical that instead of being referred to an OB or whatever, women should have a basic class or other information package to decide of the best option for them. It should not be such a hassle to find a midwife or decide to UC. Especially with the health insurance issues in the US, it seems so crazy that natural childbirth is not advocated more (at least by insurance companies).

Single mom to E (2004) and D (2010)
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#64 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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I've always been interested in birth and babies and the whole process. I like to think about how we "used" to do things; people used to actually survive and thrive without all this medical intervention?!?! lol

When I started working as an OB nurse people would ask me, "Why OB?" and I'd tell them, "Because it's the only book in school that I actually read!" Of course being in the medical field sometimes you get a little jaded. Sometimes you get to the point where it seems pitocin, epidurals and EFM are normal, even necessary.

I didn't become as natually-minded as I am now (and I'm not nearly as naturally-minded as I'd like to be!) until my twins were about 1 year old. Their birth story is insanely long and one day I should write it down, but there are a few things I'd like to share. The first is that I was told because of my PCOS that I'd probably not get pregnant on my own. That being said, DBF (now DH) and I weren't TTC but we weren't trying to stop it either. I got pregnant my first month off BC, even though it didn't dawn on me that it was possible and I didn't know I was pregnant until 8 weeks. Found out it was twins at 11 weeks and honestly I was bummed. I didn't want a high-risk pregnancy and I didn't want a c-section.

Being medically-minded I consented to all the tests and ultrasounds. It was a picture-perfect pregnancy until 29+5 weeks when at 6 am I went into labor. I was in complete denial and refused to go to the hospital until it was bad (I drank like a mad-man and my urine spec grav was 1.001 lol). I was 4 cm at 10:30, 5 cm at 11:30, and despite the mag and the stadol (I'd wanted it to help stall labor), I delivered my firstborn, Becka, at 1:43pm. She gave a tiny little cry and was wisked away even though her apgars were 7 and 8. The first time I ever "saw" her was from a picture my DH brought back to the OR, and I remember thinking that she looked just like me

In the 6 minutes from the time Becka was born until her sister arrived, I was so fuzzy headed and out of it that I had no idea what was going on. What was going on was that the doctors and nurses had just discovered that my baby B was breech with a heartrate of 100. Why my cut-happy doc didn't open me up right then, I'll never know (maybe because I didn't have an epidural?). I just remember this thought: I HAVE to tell them I have to push with the next contraction. I had no idea if I had to or not, but as the next contraction welled up I told them and thank God I did! Kate was born breech and in the caul, not breathing with a heartrate of 60. I lay there and listened to them count out chest compressions and breaths on my baby girl, but luckily it only lasted a minute. Apgars were 2, 5, and 6 at 10 minutes.

Long story short, after a 2 month long NICU stay and all the ups and downs since, I have two very sweet, healthly two-year-olds and I love them with all I have. I've always said, "When I was little, I never thought about who I'd marry, what profession I'd want to be, or where I'd live, but I always knew I'd be a mother." They complete me

I felt like an absolute failure though. Why couldn't my body protect them, love them enough to keep them safe inside of me? When I first saw them at the tertiary care center (intubated, hooked up to every machine) honestly the first thing I wanted to do was to pull everything off of them and take them home. And then I wanted to find a way to put them back into my uterus

Turns out my placenta was riddled with infection, both chronic and acute. Even though the fluid was clear, there was meconium staining on the membranes. There were fetal nucleanated (sp?) red blood cells in there as well and those indicate hypoxia.

So you know what, my babies were in trouble. My body knew that and no amount of medicine or prayer was going to stop my labor. So really despite my very medical birth (brightly lit OR with probably 20 masked people staring at my "area" ) I believe in myself and my body. And NEXT time, I'm not going to let anything get in the way of that. My body can birth without tests, exams, ultrasounds, and EFMS. My body knows what to do to keep me and my baby healthy. Whatever that may be, I'll know it's the right thing

I don't even regret not going to the hospital sooner when I was in early labor. Had I gone earlier, they would have had time to transfer me to a tertiary care center (by the time I got there it was too late and no one would accept me) and I'd have delivered, probably by c-section, amongst strangers. Instead I delivered with people I knew and trusted. And it just happens that the two people who are NRP (neonatal resuscitation) instructors were working that day. The woman who gave my daughter chest-compressions is honestly the only person I'd have "choosen" to do it if had the choice.

DH and I want to TTC again at the end of the year. Personally I feel like I must lose 30lbs first, then try to discover what could cause the placental infections (I'd thought I had BV at my 8 week visit but she said "Doesn't look like it" from the pap but didn't actually test) and what I can do to prevent it. I want a homebirth and will have to convince DH And my next child will get the option of breastfeeding as long as s/he wants because breastfeeding did not work out for my girls.

If you made it this far you're a trooper. I ramble and topic-bounce
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#65 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 11:22 AM
 
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I am another one that cant remember which came first, the natural living chicken, or the natural birth egg....

I grew up in a culture where we used herbs and natural remedies.
My grandmother cleaned with vinegar and hated using "fancy" products to put on her hair... so she would use beer and other random things.

To me this was not nuts at all.... when I met my husband it was similar. Him being the child of flower children he has a ton of alternative ways of seeing things. His mother had been diagnosed with Sjogren's recently and had been looking for a natural way to heal some of the ailments that accompanied her condition.

I knew of different things that I had learned while growing up and we worked together to find ways to make her life better. So we quickly bonded in many ways.

When I got pregnant I just didnt know of another way to live my pregnancy and my motherhood.... i knew about midwives and and they just seemed like a natural choice. My husband didnt question it and he knew it was the best for us as well.
The concept of just being in a hospital scared him because he saw his best friend's family torn apart when his wife died in childbirth beacuse of an overdose of the epidural that stopped her heart. He was videotaping it all and won a huge settlement with which he retired into seclusion and hasnt been heard from in a while... this was one of the reasons that many hospitals in the area stopped letting people videotape births. So after this, my husband would haev prefered me to giev birth in a horse traugh then in a hospital... and I did give birth in a pool.

earth.gif trottin', pole dancing, Norway and Sweden lovin' , hippie.gif,WOHM Kiddos born waterbirth.jpg 12/11/06 and 08/09/08 
belly.gif with #3 puke.gif EDD:01/2013 yikes2.gif So in love loveeyes.gif with my sweet Swede 2twins.gif and my bonus-son 10/25/98 carrot.gif

 
 

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#66 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
I don't suppose it was organic vodka?
bwahahahha.

my midwife told me when i started getting bad BH to drink a glass of wine if I was getting too uncomfortable.
I should have known it was the real thing because I could not open that bottle of Cabernet fast enough!! I swear there were teeth marks on the sides.... i did have some organic wine but I couldnt find it. I would have downed a box of Boones at that point!!

After the glass of wine didnt help I called her and just by hearing my voice she could tell it was time.

earth.gif trottin', pole dancing, Norway and Sweden lovin' , hippie.gif,WOHM Kiddos born waterbirth.jpg 12/11/06 and 08/09/08 
belly.gif with #3 puke.gif EDD:01/2013 yikes2.gif So in love loveeyes.gif with my sweet Swede 2twins.gif and my bonus-son 10/25/98 carrot.gif

 
 

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#67 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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We chose a midwife because ever since high school I knew that the hospital WAS NOT the place I wanted my baby to enter the world into... it was too sterile, too cold and too much not my home! Anyway, while in high school, I had shadowed our local CNM and had totally fallen in love with not only her but how she took care of her patients.

It didn't take too much talking on my part to get my husband on board with me. After our first appointment, he was totally talked into it, and was ready. My pregnancy went pretty amazing... other than having a little high blood pressure and being 17 days overdue. But our sons birth was better than I could have ever expected.

I went into labor at 8:50 pm on day 17 and Logan was born at 5:02 the very next morning. I labored in the bathtub and on the toilet the whole time. In attendance at his birth was my mom, mother-in-law, dad, two cousins and of course, the midwife and my husband. It was amazing! Logans apgars were 9 and 10... he was born with his eyes wide open ready to face the world. Since that moment, he hasn't stopped exploring yet! (I would love to include his birth story, but it's 8 pgs. long, and I don't know how to attach it so it's not just part of the post.)

We are pregnant with our second child, (a girl this time!!!) and have the same midwife, and the same plans to have a home birth. We're going to try a birthing tub this time around, but other than that I think that we'd be happy if this birth was just like Logans.
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#68 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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Before getting pregnant i had read both of Peggy O'mara's books: Natural Family Living and Having a baby , Naturally. I was already a subscriber to Mothering, and had started reading two Ina mae gaskin books! I had been exercising more, meditating and talking in great length with my dh about natural childbirth, parenting, etc. We knew what we wanted and knew how we wanted to get there. We were ready to have this baby!
...Fast foreward to end of week 41 of my pregnancy...instead of the drug free water birth that I was going to have with my midwife, after six hours of labour (which honestly hurt, but - I felt sooo good in between contractions- nobody ever mentioned that part to me, it was such a wonderful surprise!) my water finnally broke and all hell broke loose. My dd's heart rate dropped and something wasn't right. The next thing I knew I was getting a c-section. I hadn't even read about c-section births because I was so set on not having one.
It. was. scarey.
And maybe it was necessary and maybe it wasn't.
But after the surgery we had 5 days of my baby, my husband and I at the hospital. the lights dimmed, soft music playing and quiet. The nurses were very respectful of this. We were able to quietly bond as a family in a hospital- who would have thought?
We are a breast feeding, co-sleeping, family bed sharing, non vaxing, baby wearing, APing family.
I didn't have the birth story that I had dreamed of by any means. However, I love my story, and I find it interesting that one of my biggest issues in this life seems to be my wanting to have so much control over my life...in a very strange way my birth prepped me for motherhood. I learned that sometimes things are out of my hands and that sometimes this really is for the better, and sometimes its really ok. And sometimes it isn't. But this is all part of it.
I am still a serious advocate of natural birth, but I do realize that not everything can always go as planned, and that that is a big part of mothering too...

" The first time her laughter unfurled its wings in the wind, we knew that the world would never be the same." Greta 2/07 and Tallulah 12/09
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#69 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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Both my births were at the hospital and induced. My babies were both large 9lbs each considering I am only 5'2" and 100lbs! After the birth of my second daughter, which was quick by the way, I began bleeding badly and it was discovered I had placenta accreta. My OB did everything in his power to save my uterus and cervix, but I had to have an emergency hysterectomy. I was crushed because I was not ready to say good-bye to those childbearing years as I am only 27. I thank God my girls are both ok though.

As far as conception goes, wow we were a fertile couple. The first month of trying I got pregnant, but I lost my little one and think about her every single day. The first month of trying after the loss I got pregnant and had my first daughter. When she was seven months old and I was still nursing (no AF) I got pregnant with my youngest. So, we have no issues of infertility..haha!
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#70 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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Let's see... My 1st child was concieved after 2 years of trying - with a menstrual cycle that came once every 3 to 5 months. I'd set up an appt with an OB to find out what we could do to get things going on a more normal schedule. The week before the appt, I found out I was pregnant. :grin I was very excited, but wasn't as educated on the various aspects of hospital births as I could/should have been. The one thing I knew going in was that I absolutely wanted no drugs - I'm severely phobic of needles to the point of passing out, so the thought of having a needle in me while trying to focus on laboring was anathema. Due to the extreme irregularity of my cycles, we had a couple of ultrasounds - one at the first visit which dated the pregnancy at 9 weeks, and then one at 19 weeks to make sure we were still on track. That night, after waking up to go pee, I saw blood on the toilet paper - not much, and fairly bright. It startled me, but I calmed down when I wiped again, and no new blood showed. Next morning, getting up to get ready for work, and again blood. This time I freaked out, started crying, and had my husband call the dr's office. I had an appt the next day with the OB, so he said stay home in bed, see you tomorrow. If the bleeding got worse, to come in immediately. Called my boss (I was a live-out nanny at that point) and she was totally understanding about it. Went in the next day, to find out that the placenta had implanted low and in front, so when the ultrasound tech pushed in one area to get a picture of the baby (which we couldn't see well because of the placenta) it broke a small piece away. Since the bleeding had completely stopped, Dr wasn't worried, but confined me to bed rest for the rest of the week. The rest of the pregnancy was uneventful.

Fast forward to the due date - which came and went. I had carried low the whole pregnancy, and was ready to deliver since my back was always sore. The Dr told me that I should be prepared for a c-section, since my baby was well over 8 lbs, and they always did a C for anything larger than 8.5 lbs. I didn't like that news, but filed it away. I was sent for a last ultrasound to check that everything was okay with the baby. During the appt, they hooked me up to the external monitors, and then got very frustrated with me for moving so much that they couldn't get a read on my son's heartbeat. I explained very patiently, that it wasn't me, it was him. He hated the tightness from the belt, and would move (thus moving the belt out of position) within just a minute of it being adjusted over him. When the tech saw it happen, he relaxed a little. The ultrasound showed no problems, and I headed home. That night (Friday) I had my first contraction, and then nothing else til Saturday. Saturday contrax off and on the whole day, then every hour on the hour that evening while I was trying to sleep. Sunday, contrax all day, til we called the Dr at 9:30 Sunday evening. Admitted to the hospital at 9:45 pm. Almost the first thing that happened after getting to my LDR, was having an IV stuck into my arm - incorrectly. I had a bubble welling up under my skin where the IV wasn't absorbing. So here I am, phobic of needles, and not only will I have one in the rest of labor but it's in wrong. They quickly replaced it in the other arm, and then I was free to walk around, provided I returned to the room for monitoring, 20 mins out of every hour. Again, tight belt, and my son moved out from under it. They started getting frustrated by the lack of heartrate printout, and were concerned by the slow progress. At 1:30 am my Dr came in, said he was going to do a c-section on another patient, but once he was done he'd be back. If I hadn't progressed, he was going to break my water to speed things up. 2 am came, and the Dr arrived broke the water, and then they inserted the internal fetal monitor. Now I was stuck in the bed. At one point, they gave me Demerol I think - a shot in the back of my arm, and then into the IV. It was in response to me asking for something to relieve the extreme grip of the leading edge of the contrax. I remember at 5 am, being so exhausted I told my mom and husband that I was too tired to keep doing this. Mom told me to sleep between contrax (not easy since after each one, my son kicked vigorously), but I did - so quickly that I was snoring between each. It helped. My back was killing me, excrutiating pain shooting through my entire body whenever I had to roll to my back for examination. Finally I got to the point where pushing wasn't far off. At that point, the nurse told me that she was going to have to push my cervix back over my son's head, as it wasn't going to do it on it's own - and that he was face-up instead of face-down. So between each contration, she reached up inside and moved my cervix back, stretching it manually. I couldn't believe how much it hurt. Finally at noon, the pushing began in earnest. At one point, I was told I was going to need a episiotomy, which the Dr did quickly, and then I could push again. Then another point I was told to stop (the cord was loosely around my son's neck), then no more stops. At 1:40 Monday afternoon, my slightly blue son was born. 8 lbs 15-1/2 oz., and 22" long. Apparently all the nurses on duty were impressed that I did the whole thing without drugs. At that point, I wanted my son, some sleep, and food - man oh man did I want food. Hadn't eaten since about 3:30ish when husband and I were at lunch. My son roomed in with me, and we breastfed - though they did try to get me to feed him sugar water to help raise his blood sugar - he wouldn't stay awake long enough to drink it.

Fast forward 14 yrs. I have a new husband, and a baby on the way. This one took us 3 months to concieve after I got off the pill. Since we were planning this, I'd been taking a greenfood prenatal supplement (I work at Whole Foods Market so have a staggering array of supplements available) and fish oil for three months before getting off the pill. We have a fairly good diet, organic produce, naturally raised meats (check out the Animal compassion foundation for more info on Whole Foods meats), very little processed foods, and none of the artificial additives. After doing some extensive reading, and getting DH to read as well (especially Dr Christiane Northrup's book Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and Mothering magazine), and sharing my birth experience with my son, I was able to convince DH that I wanted a different birthing for this baby. He wasn't completely comfortable with a home birth, so we compromised... I found a Midwifery center here in Colorado that after the orientation, he and I were both positive would be a great place.

So far the experience has been wonderful, and everything we hoped. They sit and talk with us, share information, have allowed us to forgo certain testing when we let them know that the outcome of the test wouldn't change having the baby. And they've been very understanding of my needle phobia, willing to do what's necessary to keep me calm while necessary blood draws were done. The CNM's and the nurses are very calm, reassuring, and relaxed, and have been very welcoming, both of our questions, and our family members that have accompanied us to the appts.

Thanks for starting this, and allowing us to share and discuss... and for letting me ramble on and on and...

Laura wife to Dan , BFing Babywearing RadicalUSing SAHM to my free range kid Craig (12/20/93) and eventual free range kid Danny (8/26/08)
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#71 of 93 Old 04-23-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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On preconception: I really really believe that it is very important to exercise. The summer before I conceived our beautiful son (on the first try), I walked 2+ miles with our dog almost every day. I lost a little weight, but more importantly, I got into better shape (which is really important when you're in your mid-thirties and trying to be a mom). I also found a prenatal vitamin that I could stomach (whole food vitamins often are more easily tolerated) that I started taking 6 months ahead of time.

Pregnancy: I continued to walk the dog as much as I could, and when I went to my midwife appointments, the midwives always remarked on how healthy I was. I also am a mostly vegan vegetarian, so that helped. I never considered having an out-of-hospital birth, but I took a course in hypnobirthing that I believe really helped in the end. I DO wish I'd read more about baby sleep while pregnant, I figured solving baby sleep issues would be more intuitive. I also wished I would have read all of "Birthing from Within" since it is a great resource on how to process feelings and not pin one's hopes on the perfect birth plan.

Birth: My birth was not at all what I had hoped it would be. I was nearly three weeks overdue when I went in for an induction. After several hours of pitocin and nothing accomplished but torturing my son and myself, the OB came in and said she thought I needed a c-section. This was a shock to us, and we were basically scared into the c/s by the OB and the EFM results. So I went in and had the c/s after a spinal. The c/s was probably one of the most frightening things I've ever lived through, and the OBs and nurses were all saying how lucky I was that I wasn't in New Orleans having a baby right now (it would have been better if they had just said nothing). There was a true knot in baby's cord, so in the end it could have been the best thing for me to have a c/s, but I'll never truly know for sure. I was too weak from the spinal and medication to feel steady enough to hold and nurse my son until 2 or 3 hours after he was born. My son nursed like a pro from the beginning, and despite the inexcusable, unethical formula-pushing behavior of the hospital LC, my milk came in the day I went home from the hospital (and I had to beg them to let me go home) and we never had a milk supply issue.

Lessons learned: While you absolutely should have a baby in the hospital if you are truly in the high-risk category, there are other safe options available for low-risk pregnancies (previous c/s isn't necessarily high-risk, btw). Also, despite all your efforts to have a baby on your terms, the baby may not agree to them.

Post-partum: Walk, love your baby, eat lots of healthy foods, sleep when you can, and do strength training to get your body into great shape.

:
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#72 of 93 Old 04-24-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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Well, if you start at the VERY beginning, I never wanted to have kids, but that changed when I got married

Our first child was planned and we conceived him about 4 months after we got married. Even from the beginning I had thought about how wonderful it would be to have him right there at home, but my OB talked us out of it and for some reason I continued to listen to what he told us, even though my primitive instinct knew he was wrong. In the meantime, I joined LLL (although how I came to find out LLL about is still a mystery. I honestly don't know how I found them!) and I learned everything I could about breastfeeding and was extremely determined to do it- this was important because I had armed myself with a lot of information on what to do when there are problems and we did end up having a rough start.

The birth started around 11:00pm but I didn't actually recognize it as early labor. By 1:00am I was having unbearable, sharp pains in my back with every contraction and I couldn't even talk through them. I got very scared and I knew something wasn't right, that wasn't where the pain was supposed to be, so we raced to the hospital. I get there, barely able to speak, and I'm found to be 2cm dilated : To make a long story short, cascade of the usual interventions, tons of drugs, failed epidural, confined to bed, abused by hospital staff, and had a psychotic episode after being administered a very large dose of Stadol that pretty much erased the first memories of my first child being born. Somehow he came out, sunny side up, I suffered a 2.5cm pubic bone separation that popped so loudly everyone in the room heard it, and a 2nd degree tear + episiotomy. But it was a vaginal birth (and I KNOW many if not most other doctors would have put me under the knife way before all that happened. This was the one thing my OB did right, even if it meant letting me suffer for 20 hours. )
Paddy was born around 5:45pm on Aug 10, 2005.

Recovery was very hard, Paddy didn't nurse until 10 days after his birth and it took me literally smashing his little face into my boob to get him to do it. I was horribly engorged from all the IV fluids and then him not nursing, things really took a while to smooth out. And even after that he was never a fantastic nurser, he kind of has a high palate. But we did it exclusively for 6 months. Enter baby #2....

Apparently I'm fertile myrtle and my period comes back around 4 weeks pp regardless of exclusive breastfeeding! So imagine our suprise when we discover I'm 14 weeks pregnant and we have a very hungry 6 month old. We had no choice but to put him on formula, and I did not know that I should have tried to continue nursing him anyway. This was devastating for me considering how hard I'd worked to get him to nurse and now it was all gone in a flash. This abrupt weaning plus the pregnancy really hit me hard emotionally and I'm sure it contributed to the PPD I had after the birth of our second child.

We were living in AZ when we found out we were pregnant, and we immediately made plans to move back home to OH. When we got back, I toured a local hospital and pre-registered for the heck of it. I knew I did not want to go to a hospital again, but didn't know where to find a midwife. In June of 06 I found MDC and through a member here I was able to locate a midwife. But this was not before I initially used MDC as a resource for planning a UC. I was never entirely comfortable with the idea of UC for myself but I was in the mindset of "I'd rather die in a pool of my own blood in the bathroom than go to a hospital again", so it seemed like my only option. Anyway, another long story short: we found a midwife, she's fantastic, we have an easy, perfect 8 hour homebirth with no problems. She'll be coming back to assist us again with this baby

My focus now is really focusing more on natural fertility awareness and using that to avoid pregnancy, as DH and I are pretty sure that we are done having children. I do not want to take drugs, neither one of us is totally keen on him getting the V, and using NFP to avoid honestly is not hard for us because my signs and cycles are very predictable and regular.
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#73 of 93 Old 04-24-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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Phew, I just finished reading everyone's stories. Thank you so much for taking the time to share! For those of you who experience trauma and loss, I'm so sorry! I hope that, with time, you've been able to find some healing and peace.

I was always pretty mainstream until a dear friend from nursing school got pg and started down her own NFL path. That planted a little seed with me that is still growing.

I'm a nurse, working in the fields of family planning and maternity support services. I'm very aware of menstrual cycles, timing intercourse, etc. so I thought it would take me 3 mos tops to get pg. I started taking prenatal vits way in advance. I went off birth control and charted for a couple cycles to get a full picture of "me" before we started officially TTC. We tried, and tried, and tried without success.

About 6 months in I started researching more alternative approaches to infertility. I went on a special fertility diet (nothing processed, no sugar, no caffeine, all whole grain, fresh/organic produce, etc.). Soon after I started acupuncture and TCM and nightly meditation.

After a year, I scheduled us for a workup with a wonderful fertility clinic. We were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" which basically means that they can't find anything wrong with either one of us but, for whatever reason, we can't make babies on our own. After 16 months and two rounds of fertility treatments, we conceived DD.

I had planned to stay on my restrictive diet through the first trimester but I was so sick I had to just eat whatever I could keep down, which wasn't much. Even though I was horribly ill for the first 6 months, I LOVED being pg. It was the best thing in the world. I even had pg photographs taken when I was 34 weeks and I still love looking at those pictures!

The upside to taking so long to get pg is that it gave me time to research my options. My sister had gone to an OB, got induced at 41 wks, labored for 12 hr to get to 2 cm, got an epidural, and ended up with an emergency c/s so I knew I wanted to very different path for myself. I wasn't comfortable with the option of homebirth yet, so I opted for a CNM who delivered at a hospital that has huge tubs for waterbirthing. I enrolled in a hypnobirthing class and made plans for a natural birth.

I went into labor naturally, labored for 12 hours (mostly at home), and after 45 mintues of pushing, delivered my beautiful DD in the water. I ended up with a tear that went up around my clitoris (not fun) but barely even noticed because I was so excited to meet my DD. I was surround by DH, our dula, my sister, my mom, and my dad. It was perfect!

I delivered a full, intact placenta but started slowly hemorrhaging a few hours after delivery. My wonderful midwife tried every non-invasive tactic she could to get the bleeding to stop but was unsuccessful. 24 hours later, I had emergency surgery where they discovered a satellite placenta (an extra lobe that had grown independently from the main placenta). I ended up needing two blood transfusions. Except for the actual surgery itself, my DD was always in my arms.

I am very satisfied with how my hospital birth went. They respected every wish I expressed and even let me co-sleep with DD. DH and I decided that our next child would be born there as well.

Last summer, my mom was diagnosed with aggressive metastatic bone cancer and after a short two month battle, it was clear that she wasn't going to make it. She was admitted to the same hospital for bleeding in her brain and a last ditch effort for chemo. At the time, my sister was 41 wks pg and planning a VBAC at a hospital almost over an hour away. With 2 hours notice, an OBGYN at my mom's hospital agree to take on my sister as a patient and do an C/S the next day. This was truly a gift for our family. My sister was able to be close to my mom (and the rest of the family) in her final days and my mom got to meet her third grandchild before she died. The hospital went out of their way to make sure my sister and her new baby could leave the postpartum unit as many times as they wanted to be with my mom. My mom died about a week later. :

I started acupuncture and TCM again shortly after she died to help me cope with the grief and because I knew we'd want to start fertility treatments again soon. I'd like to start exercising again but just had surgery on my leg to remove a melanoma so I have to wait for the scar to strengthen before I can do any physical activity.

Even though the thought of having a baby with out my mom scares and saddens me beyond words, we have an appointment with the fertility clinic next month and will be starting treatments this summer. I would have gladly gone to the same hospital again for another wonderful birthing experience but, after losing my mom there, no one in my family wants to go back there. I think I'd probably be OK with it myself but wouldn't know for sure and I don't want grief to stall my labor.

I'd love to do a home birth this next time around but, so far, DH is dead set against it. He's very nervous after my PP hemorrhage last time. We have compromised on a birthing center but I'm hoping I'll be able to convince him to do a homebirth eventually. I loved my waterbirth experience last time so I refuse to compromise on that.

I truly believe that my struggle with infertility was the catalyst for my journey into NFL. I'm not perfect and still have a long way to go to reach my ideal but, looking back, I have made huge strides. My family lovingly refers to me as a crazy hippie but I'm slowly converting them as well. :

I credit acupuncture and TCM with helping me (and my mom) in so many ways. I love that it is all about balance and nurturing the body. I have decided that once my kid(s) are older and in school, I'm going to leave nursing and go to acupuncture school. It just feels so right to me. I'd love to specialize in infertility, women's health, and pregnancy support.

Sorry for the novel!

ETA: I just found out yesterday morning that I'm pregnant! No fertility treatments - just me, DH, and a wonderful acupuncturist who helped get my body back into balance! I am in complete shock and awe!
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#74 of 93 Old 04-25-2008, 03:27 AM
 
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I had my first son at the ripe old age of 17. He was a surprise, to say the least. I was a single mom, in college, living with my parents. My mom is an RN, so I expected her to have all the answers. Of course, her answer to being pregnant was go to the doctor and have a hospital birth. So I did.

My labor began on April 19th around 7am. Not knowing what to expect (other than what I read in What To Expect...haha, what a joke that was) I waited around anxiously for it to be time to go to the hospital.

Finally, around midnight on the 20th, my contractions were close enough together that we decided it was time to go to the hospital. When I arrived there, they said I wasn't even dialated, hooked me up to a Pitocin drip and everyone left. I endured over 12 hours of Pitocin contractions, drug-free and without any support. Around noon on the 20th, they decided I wasn't really in labor and sent me home with sleeping pills, advising me to get some rest.

I went home, still having painful contractions every 5 minutes. I tried to rest but found it impossible. I hadn't slept since the night of the 19th.

When my contractions were 3 minutes apart, around 2am on the 21st, I went back to the hospital. I was dialated to a 4, progress, finally! After about 4 hours, stuck in a bed with monitors strapped on me, my contractions started to slow down. More Pitocin. They cranked it up as high as they could go, and I begged for drugs (or for someone to kill me). I had an epidural placed and finally got some rest. Around noon I woke up with someone's hand in my vagina and was told it was time to push. A rush of people came into the room, setting things up, looking at the strip of paper and never once did someone look at me or talk to me. My epidural began to wear off and I felt this incredible crushing pain in my back. I pushed on my back for 3 hours with little progress. Finally, the OB was called in and he performed an episiotomy and used a vacuum to extract my son. As he emerged, I heard the doctor say he was OP. No wonder I'd had such a hard time pushing him out!

Everyone left and there I was with this baby. Exhausted. He cried a lot. I just wanted to take a shower. There was no nursery, no family came to help me and the nurses said they didn't have time come and hold him while I showered. Nobody offered to help me nurse him. I couldn't get him to latch right and it was really painful. We stayed for 3 days because they were worried about this thing he had called a hydrocele. Anyway, that turned out to be nothing. But by the end of day 2, my nipples were little more than scabs.

I tried to sleep when he slept. And the nurses came in and told me it was time to wake up and be a mom. While he was sleeping, they wouldn't let me sleep.

So I cried. Hysterically. I wanted to go home. My nipples hurt. I was exhausted. And alone.

So they sent in a social worker to ask me if I was sure I wanted to keep him and wouldn't I just look at these brochures about giving him up for adoption?

I raised a huge stink and got out of there as fast as I could.


When I became pregnant with my second son four years later, I knew I did not want a repeat experience. But still, not knowing there was an option, I sought out an OB and a hospital to birth at. When I was 28 weeks and brought in my birth plan, he laughed in my face and told me if I wanted a birth like "that" I should hire a midwife.

And that's just what I did. A CNM, who delivered in a hospital, but I knew I was on a better track.

Until I went 10 days past my due date and was bullied and terrified into being induced. With Cytotec.

Nothing went wrong. I was given a pill, monitored for an hour then sent out to walk for 2 hours. Repeat 3 times. I finally dialated to a 4, no contractions so far. Then I was allowed in labor and delivery. My midwife came, said hi, broke my water and left.

I went from not being in labor to being in transition in about half an hour. I shook violently and threw up. My contractions came right on top of one another. I begged the nurse to get my midwife. She offered me IV drugs or an epidural. No other options. I took the epidural, gladly. After it was placed, I laid down to get some rest. I called my son to say hi, talked to him for half an hour and when I was done, I mentioned to the nurse that I felt a lot of pressure. My midwife came in and checked me and said I was ready to push. I went from being not in labor at all to pushing in 4 hours. My son was born easily with about 4 or 5 good pushes, no trauma or tearing at all. It was as good of a birth as I could have expected, considering.

I was given lots of support and help learning to nurse him, and we were able to leave the hospital the next day. Not surprisingly, I had a much easier recovery and did not suffer PPD like I had the previous time.

But when I became pregnant with my third son, I knew that something was not right about my previous two births. I saw the same CNM I'd seen for DS2 but my heart wasn't in it. At 30 weeks I decided to follow my heart and called up a local homebirth midwife.

When we met her, it was like magic. Both my husband and I adored her from the beginning. We clicked with her like we'd been best friends all our lives. We left after our first meeting with her absolutely thrilled, and planning a homebirth.

I went to 42 weeks and 1 day, and never once did my midwife scare me or bully me. She was there for me at 9 in the morning or 5 in the evening. I called her a lot towards the end, just needing a little reassurance. I felt a little like I'd never go into labor, but I finally did around 1am on Monday, December 5th, 2005. I'd never experienced natural labor all the way through, so there was a small part of me that was afraid. I woke my husband up, called my midwife and just paced around my house. They arrived shortly after 3am and I was already at 4cm. I was stoked, because I felt really in control and happy and social between contractions. I went far away during contractions, really digging on just breathing and being. My midwife went to the spare bedroom to lay down and rest while my husband went back to bed to do the same, and the midwife's apprentice and I just sat hanging out.

My water broke around 4am and things picked up a bit from there. I started needing to kneel or squat during contractions, but I still perked right back up after it was over and felt in control and just in awe of the process. I thought my son's birth was a loooong way off, but didn't feel discouraged.

Things intensified and I wanted the water badly, so I had the apprentice wake my midwife and my husband. Then I retreated to the back bedroom because I felt so exposed in the living room where I'd been perfectly happy for hours.

I was at 6cm at exactly 6am, and then transition hit. Fast. And intense. In 9 minutes, I had basically one long contraction and dialated completely. I got in the tub just in time to start pushing and 15 minutes later my son was born. He was 10 lbs. 2 oz. and 22 inches long, born at 6:24am. I was amazed, in awe completely. I felt so powerful and strong. It was my redemption. The journey I had been on all these years had led me to this moment of realization that I was powerful and strong as a woman and a mother. It fulfilled a deep longing in me I'd never realized before.

And I wanted to do it again.

4 1/2 months later, oops. I became pregnant with my daughter. I hadn't yet started charting because I didn't think I was ovulating but apparently I was. Or did, at least that once.

We planned an unassisted birth from the beginning. I had dreamed about a UC prior to finding out I was pregnant and my midwife wasn't available near my due date, so my DH and I decided together to UC.

Nothing in particular changed my mind, but I felt that we hadn't made the right choice when I was 32 weeks pregnant. We found a local midwife that was supportive of UC and was willing to be there "just in case" rather than be an active participant in the birth.

My daughter was born in a magnificent waterbirth, my husband caught while our midwife sat on the couch knitting. I felt amazing and awed by the process, again reminded of the power I held as a woman. I asked mu husband why we'd hired a midwife when we had done it all without help. We felt prouder and more connected than we had ever felt in our lives.

I started hemmorhaging, badly. I thank the universe my midwife was there. She helped us through it and then left us in our peaceful birth cocoon, and all was right in the world.

Almost a year later, my daughter's birthday was fast approaching. My husband I were trying to decide if we wanted another baby and when. I was charting, but not well. Tandem nursing and nigtwaking made it hard to really notice fertility signs. Execept in January. I noticed I'd ovulated the day after my husband and I had been intimate. I just knew we'd conceive and excitedly watched my temperatures rise in the following 10 days. Sure enough, I tested positive 11 days past ovulation. We were sooo excited for another baby.

But I couldn't ignore this nagging internal voice I had that felt like a warning.

My pregnancy symptoms vanished at 10 weeks. My milk came back in. And at 13 weeks and 5 days, we lost our sweet little baby. And like after my daughter's birth, I hemmorhaged badly. But this time I wasn't prepared for it and I had nobody there to help me.

I ended up having to to go the ER. I had a D&C and was admitted. I am recovering, slowly, but each day is easier.

I still have hope that someday we will have a fifth baby but all of this has led me to trust my intuition more than I ever imagined I would.

I am now working on preconception wellness, preparing my body for another pregnancy, and being really healthy before doing so. I am prepared for the fact that I may hemmorhage again, but I feel confident that we can deal with it, and I am building my blood supply with supplements and nutrition so if it does happen it won't be such a shock for my body. I am already in touch with the midwife we saw for DS3 and she will attend our next baby's birth, whenever that may be. She's suggested accupuncture and I may just try it. At this point, I'd do anything to prevent losing another baby.

But I still trust birth, the universe and especially myself and my intuition.
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#75 of 93 Old 04-25-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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I got pregnant the summer of 06' while working at a summer camp with my boyfriend of 2.5 years. In order to live together "on camp" we were told we had to be married... So we went home over a long weekend in august and got married I went to a ob/gyn nearby several times and quit taking my seizure meds (had one seizure in 1990). I wasn't a big fan of the practice as I saw 4 different docs over 4 visits... Apparently there were 8 docs and I would see each one so that I'd know whoever it was that ended up delivering me.

After the fall season ended we move'd back to OH and stayed in my grandparents cottage. I knew I wanted a natural birth and wanted to bf, because that was just... how it was. So, I found a midwife who was practicing with an ob/gyn who was at my birth (as a nurse... I think). Thankfully, the ob was in the process of moving to nevada or arizona, or something. I met with her once, and was told that I *had* to get permission from my neurologist to have a 'normal birth' - and of course my neuro refused and scared us all - it was absolutely HORRIBLE that I had gotten pregnant while on phenobarbital - it was absolutely HORRIFIC that I'd stopped taking the phenobarbital. But I loved the midwife... and the doctor who was taking over from the old ob happened to be an old family friend of ours. His oldest son was one of my best friends for years and years... and so, in the end, he allowed me to have my natural birth with the midwife. He was at the hospital 'just in case' but didn't really do much of anything

So... I went into labor at 6:30ish as I sat down for dinner, and walked up and down the halls of the hospital and tried to sleep for the next 12 hours before finally being allowed into the tub... where I labored for 2 hours and then gave birth after 1 hour of pushing (not in the tub though, I was just too darn hot after being in it for 2 hours...). It was a wonderful birth. I'll totally go back to the midwife again, no doubt about it.

We had some issues with latch for the first couple weeks, and DS did have one bottle of formula after 2 or 3 days of not eating much of anything, but that was it. After a month of hard bfing he figured it out and its been blissful ever since! He's nearly 14 months now and still nursing like an old pro. I've had no problems with mastitis, supply or anything - and I've never even leaked! Its been wonderful.

I just saw 'The Business of Being Born' last week.. and am now researching becoming a midwife. Its not something I'd really thought of before seeing the movie, but the movie has truly inspired me. Some of the statistics in it are simply horrendous and extremely disturbing!! So thats where I am now
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#76 of 93 Old 04-29-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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With my first I was induced at 39weeks 1 day with my son..cervadil for 24 hours and they sent me home having contractions 1 minute apart and painful but i wasnt dialating from them..1 week later my water broke at home..19 hours of labor, laboring in bed the entire time and an epidural my son was born after 4 or 5 pushes. (delivered by a family practice doc) 7lbs 7 oz 18 1/2 inches. A breastfed baby for 4 months

With my second..I was 5 days over due and wanting to be checked..I called my obgyn up and lied and told him I was in labor. When I got to L&D I was 7cm and they told me we could go home because I wasnt in active labor. My water broke an hour after I arrived to L&D and an hour after that and 4 or 5 pushes later my daughter was born. No pain meds. She was 9 lbs 9 oz 22 1/2 inches..A breastfed baby for 1 year

With my 3rd I was induced by my obgyn; he says because her size was estimated close to ten pounds, I think merely because of conveneince for him. I was induced one day beforem y due date. 4 cm when I got there..and she was born in 4 hours..No pain meds. 3 or 4 pushes later she was born 9 lbs 1 oz 21 1/2 inches..A breastfed baby for 6 months

My 4th I was induced because my uric acid levels were creeping up and my midwife was cautious about pre eclampsia. I had horrible pubic symphysis pain with this pregnancy since 14 weeks along and I had enough in the end. My midwife was fabulous, If I ever do this again I will go with her no questions asked. I was induced with pitocin for 14 hours. SHe wanted to break my water sooner but couldnt because the babys head was too high..Once she finally broke my water active labor began and I FINALLY started to dialate. During labor I couldnt tell the difference between pain and terrible pressure so I opted for the epidural last minute..now I have terrible lower back aches and regret having it done since it didnt work anyways.My midwife allowed me to push when i was 7-8 cm..She was able to stretch my cervix open and as I pushed the baby down he held my cervix open. My son was born after 5 or 6 pushes weighing in at 8 lbs 9 oz 21 inches. What a total different experience using a midwife..it was fabulous. My amazing nursing baby and we are now into babywearing!
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#77 of 93 Old 04-29-2008, 03:10 PM
 
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This has definitely been a journey for me, suprisingly even moreso over the past couple of weeks. When i was about 12 i heard that a woman who lived a few blocks away had given birth to twins--in her home--and not seen a doctor until neighbors called an ambulance and forced her to go to the local clinic hours later. i thought she was insane. i vaguely remember hearing that she was a drug addict and thought that must explain it.

Over the next couple of years i was reading Janette Oke books (one where a woman had a natural home birth, after her husband had spent months trying to get a doctor to come to town), watched my mother praying for a third child (my father had a vasectomy after my younger sister was born, and it took about a decade for him to decide he wanted a reversal), and i heard of home births with midwives for the first time. When i was almost fourteen my mother did have baby #3, who was born after 3-4 weeks of failed induction. They eventually decided that they couldn't wait for her to go any more overdue, broke my mother's waters, and when not enough progress was made resorted to a c-section. My mother's plan for a natural, drug free birth at the nearby birth center had eventually been totally thrown out the window, and my mother spent a painful labor flat on her back, with a baby that was sunny side up, and it turned out that they had gotten her dates wrong so KJ was actually born early. i discovered from this experience that i hate the smell of hospitals, i hate how much the doctors intervene, totally disregarding my mother's wishes, and that there is no way i will ever labor in one (barring my body telling me that something is wrong and that it is necessary). My mother went on to have four scheduled c-sections with her subsequent children (no one would even consider her for VBAC, because she is 'too old" and has gestational diabetes), one of which i attended in the operating room (i watched my mother almost die right in front of me, and only i and the anesthesiologist noticed), as well as my sister's first birth in the hospital (she wanted to have a water birth, but they eventually made her get out, get strapped up to the monitors, and put her on a pitocin drip. After two hours of excrusiating pain, an epidural, and 45 minutes of pushing, her baby was born... they said she wasn't really in labor until she felt that pain, the nurse and midwife actually were happy about it!).

So... when i was a junior in high school the mother of a classmate had her tenth baby in a hotel room attended by a midwife. The baby was 2-3 weeks overdue, weighed over 12 pounds (that's as high as the scale went!), came out with a full head of hair, and was a totally adorable lard ball. i decided that if she could do that there would no way i could not have a safe home birth, even when all my Mom's babies weighed 8-9 lbs. A couple of years later i was writing a fanfiction with a pregnancy and delivery in it, and while i was researching the process for my story i stumbled upon the concept of unassisted and orgasmic childbirth. So after a period of time, prayer, and thought, i decided that not only do i want a home birth, i want an unassisted one.

Well now, just when i was giving up on the idea of ever getting married or having children, i unexpectedly found the right guy and am happily engaged. We both want to have a large family, on the scale of 6-8 kids. My mother bf, so i always assumed i would, and though she cd on and off i always hated it... but recently decided that it is what i want to do, to, which was a shock to me. My fiance and i just had a huge argument about circ, which i handled completely wrong, but i did convince him that it is unnecessary finally. i was homeschooled, we plan to do that as well. My mother started buying organic foods a few years ago, and they had a share in a farm for a while, so i gradually came around to the concept as well, and we buy organic and local grown whenever we can. There is a girl from church who is a year older than KJ who got her period when she was 5 and outgrew me when she was 10... so i am really worried about the impact growth hormones are having on children today. My mother is also starting to get into more herbal remedies... i'm not sure i'm ready for that, but i am anti-vax, anti-antibiotics, anti-hand sanitizer, etc. Most of the time i do not feel the need to take medicine, or the medicines i do take (such as cough syrups, decongestants, etc.) do not help at all. i use Advil and take vitamin C and that's about it (the Advil is because Tyl., Asp., Alleve, etc. do absolutely nothing for my pain, and i have had a back injury and allergy-related migraines that require some sort of pain relief for me). i am planning to start taking more Omega-3 for my allergies and as i start TTC. But i hate taking otc vitamins, they're huge and i can't tell that they help, and i eat pretty healthy as it is, though there is always room for improvement. My parents keep goats for milk and free range chickens... i am open to the concept of raw milk, but don't know if it's worth it for us because we don't drink a lot of milk really. We eat cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, always buy organic when we can, natural, no additives or preservatives. We also drink a lot of 100% juice in our house (my sister's three year old loves it, we water it down half and half, even for us).

So i am getting married later this year, and we will start TTC right away. i am not charting, but i am starting to keep track of when i O and AF visits. i am trying to lose weight right now (i've lost 35 lbs. but have about 55 more to go), cut back on caffeine (Coca-cola and the occasional Starbucks Frap are my main weaknesses), and as soon as we get our own home i think i am going to start composting and start container gardening vegetables, which is a big step for me because in the past everything i have ever tried to grow has been an utter failure. But my mother and aunt have done it to good success, so i want to try as well.

As far as medical care... i'm not sure how much i'll be willing to put up with. i will not listen to any scare tactics, i have a long list of books i plan to buy and educate myself. i'm not opposed to an ultrasound but know i don't need it. i think that because this will be my first pregnancy we will probably visit a doctor, hopefully one that's also a midwife, at first at least (for dh mostly because he is more hesitant about uc than i am). After that i doubt i will seek any medical care. My sister (that i currently live with, with the two kids and a botched water birth followed by a pleasant birth center experience) is very anti-uc, is pro-circ, we are butting heads here, but it is my body and i am comfortable with the choices that i am prayerfully making. So, when you ask me what i'm doing to get ready for pregnancy... i'm still a virgin waiting for my wedding night, which is rapidly approaching, but i've been getting ready for this for over a decade.
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#78 of 93 Old 04-29-2008, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This has been an amazing workshop! I want to thank everyone who participated for your beautiful words and views

This workshop will be closing tomorrow, April 30, 2008 and we'll be opening the next workshop in our series Part 2 – Baby’s Early Years: Breastfeeding.

I hope you'll all join us!
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#79 of 93 Old 04-30-2008, 02:04 AM
 
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Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. It's been a privilege to read about your journeys toward and through birth.
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#80 of 93 Old 04-30-2008, 08:16 AM
 
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I'm jumping in late... but I wanted to share.

I have felt called to be a midwife since I was 11 years old. I just knew midwifery and mothering were what I was supposed to be doing with my life.

I had three miscarriages before conceiving my DS. During my pregnancy with him I planned a homebirth, in fact a UC, because there were no midwives in the city where I lived. I was under the care of an OB, but at 21 weeks I fired him and swore I'd never go back when he told me it didn't matter if my baby died or not. I managed to find care with midwives over an hour from my home, and for the first time in my pregnancy I felt peace. Then, I ended up needing to move in with my Mom when I was pregnant and she would not allow me to have a homebirth in her house

My son went past 40 weeks, as I was almost certain he would (first babies in my family are all around 43 weeks). I was induced at 43 weeks to the day. He was born after 47 hours of intervention filled labour. I was traumatized that my perfect birth had gone so wrong.

I swore never again. If there is anything T's birth did for me it was give me the strength to know what I won't put up with. I am pregnant again now, and planning a homebirth unless something actually medically relevant (as opposed to just 43 weeks ) comes up.

I wish I'd found MDC when I was pregnant with my son, but I'm so glad to be here now.

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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#81 of 93 Old 04-30-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Wow Julie, I am glad you stayed and I am very sorry you had such a difficult birth. I am glad you have a wonderful son.
Thank you! Writing it out has really helped me deal with it. I had never written it out before. Oddly it has made me very grateful for the nursing relationship I have with Paul. While his birth is some I don't like to look back on, nursing has gone wonderful.

Julie

Julie ~ homesteading, Traditional Catholic, wife to Chip, mom to Angelbaby(4-06), DS (3-07), and DD (11-09).
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#82 of 93 Old 04-30-2008, 06:53 PM
 
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I grew up hearing the tragic story of my mother's experience birthing my older sister. It was 41 years ago, and my mother had an undiscovered case of complete placenta previa. When she was 36 weeks, she thought she felt her water break, only to look down and see that she was standing in a pool of blood. She was rushed to the hospital where they performed an emergency c-section, both my mother and my sister died, and both were resuscitated and brought back to life. So of course when my mom got pregnant with me 11 years later, she had a planned c-section, and the same when she had my younger sister as well. I carried this fear of birth with me for such a long time. And when my older sister invited me to attend the birth of her third son in the hospital when I was 20 years old I was excited to be a part of it. She had never had her labor start spontaneously with any of her three children, she was always induced. She had really wanted a natural birth for this birth experience and had even picked out a hospital and OB that were very natural birth friendly, with birthing rooms that looked like they could be and actual bedroom in someone's home, with dim lights and couches and paintings on the wall, etc. I remember her walking the halls in her gown rolling the IV along with her. She was quite upset to have to be on pitocin once again. But she was quite adimant about her decision to not use any drugs for pain. That was, until the pitocin had to be cranked up all the way and her contractions were coming on top of one another and she was crying for pain medication. Once she had the epidural, I had to help hold her leg as she pushed. I remember the nurses counting for her and the chaos and commotion going on around her with doctors yelling orders, nurses ordering her when to push and when to stop and when to breathe. It was such an amazing thing to see that tuft of dark brown hair on the squished head start to emerge. And when his head was born and I stared at his precious face all perfect and squished, I felt so proud of her. But all along I knew that all of this commotion was unnecessary. I knew there had to be another way. And then I found out I was pregnant at the ripe old age of 20. I found some information about midwives online and I knew that was the way to go. I lost my baby when I was only 5 weeks pregnant. Six years later, I became pregnant again and right away I started researching my possibilities. There was an amazing woman who worked with my husband who was around 20 weeks pregnant at the time and she told me of her plans of a homebirth with a local midwife. I hadn't really considered a homebirth before then, but I made an appt to meet with the midwife a few days later and fell completely in love with her. I knew that this was the right way to have my baby. I gave birth to my 9 pound six ounce 21 1/2 inch baby girl after a whopping 37 hours in labor at home. There were quite a few people there at my birth and I think part of me never really let myself go completely and that is why it took so long. Fast forward 23 months later I was in labor with my second baby girl. But this time, everyone knew to leave me alone. That's what I needed, and what I knew I needed from the moment I found out I was pregnant again. I envisioned myself laying in my birthing tub, listening to soft music, next to my birth alter, completely unaware of anything around me, 100% focused on my body and my baby. It really was an amazing experience, I welcomed each contraction and imagined the tightening of my uterus bringing my baby closer and closer to me. No one even knew I was in transition, except for the fact that I threw up twice in a bowl, I was completely silent and motionless. And then I felt that I needed to change positions, I got on my knees and was shocked when with the next contraction my body forced me to push with all of my might. I startled my midwife who had just come in to check up on me, neither one of us could believe how strongly the pushing contraction came. And 14 minutes later after 6 hours of labor, I had my 11 pound 23 inch giant baby girl. I think that part of my reasoning behind choosing homebirth was to completely wipe out all of the fear and negetivity that surrounded the idea of pregnancy and childbirth that I had held inside of me since the first time I hear the tragic story of my mother and my sister's birth story.

Jenn, future midwife, mama to 2 sweet girls (6/05) and (5/07). 
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#83 of 93 Old 04-30-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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I was 19 when I had Stephanie. In a hospital, they gave me demerol without asking me if I wanted it, made her father put on scrubs which I thought was an odd thing to do. I didn't think the demerol really did much and they kept asking me if I wanted an epidural. When they told me what it was...I was like "No way are you people shoving a needle into my back." With her I escaped induction by 3 days. She weighed 7 lbs 2 and 1/2 oz. I didn't know for a long time why the great big huge fat nurse was laying on me while I was trying to push her out.
With Michael, I was walking in the store and realized I was in labor. We went back home and when I couldn't stand it, we went to the hospital. They kept trying to give me drugs but I kept saying no, I just really didn't feel like I needed them. He weighed 8 lbs 6 oz.
With Nicholas, I got up to the hospital and they checked me and then told me I might want to get up and walk around. So we walked the halls for quite awhile until I had to vomit and I got back into bed. I was really trying to go drug free that time too but I finally grabbed Nick's dad and told him to go find the drug guy. I noticed that time that the nurses had my bed up alot further than the 2 previous times. So, finally, he's coming out and he weighed 10 lbs. 2 weeks before he was born the US showed him weighing 8 lbs. He tore me, the doctor cut me and my tailbone broke as he was coming out. I will say that this hospital was the closest I've ever had to a more natural birth in a hospital.
With Victoria I was determined that I would stay at home as long as I could before going to the hospital. The night before she was born I tried to lay down and had a massive contraction so I got up and decided to walk around my house. I did that for a long time and my contractions were pretty regular but not so hard like that one, so I wasn't sure yet if I wanted to go up to the hospital. I walked around alot more and finally at 3 in the morning I went and woke up her father. He had to leave to go get our SIL so she could watch the other kids and I just sat on the coffee table the whole time he was gone, which was about 15 minutes, I think. So, they get back and I heard the back door open and I got up and was walking through the dining room and my water broke. I was so surprised because this is the first time that ever happened on it's own but I kind of dropped to the floor and felt like I was stuck there. Her father called the ambulance then and, well, I swore after that ride I would never take another ride in an ambulance for anything. So, we get to the hospital and some doctor is in the parking lot and checks me right there. She says "Get her upstairs, we still have time." So they rush me up there and 2 minutes later she was born. She weighed 9 lbs 11 oz. I was kind of bitter about that because I was laying there later that day and some secretary walks by my room and tells me I'm not allowed to sleep with my baby. All I can remember is telling her to mind her own **** business and leave me the **** alone. I hadn't slept in quite awhile by that point and wasn't very friendly towards stupid people.
When I had Beverly, I was induced, my first time with a pitocin nasty labor. I sat up in a chair most of the time I was in labor, though I did ask the doctor if we couldn't just let my water break on it's own and they talked me into letting them do it. So I sat up as long as I could and finally got into the bed. They kept trying to get me to take something for the pain and I just kept telling them I didn't want their nasty drugs. Finally the nurse checks me and tells me I can start pushing. I think I'm doing pretty good at it and they finally told me to quit pushing because the doctor wasn't there. I really didn't care but I can remember thinking "You all are nurses, I hope you know how to catch a baby." So she came out 2 or 3 minutes before the doctor got there. He said something stupid when he walked in but I can't remember what it was. She weighed 9 lbs 3 oz.
And then there was Melody. At my last doctors visit, she stripped my membranes and then told me she did it. Then she talked me into induction...pitocin again. This time my mother was with me in the delivery room. It took about 6 hours and I was dialated to 4. Finally they talked me into some demerol. I kept telling them that I had it twice before and it didn't help either time. So the nurse is giving it to me and told me to put my feet on the bed. After that I can't remember anything until I woke up and the doctor is between my legs. I was thinking, "it's not time to push yet" and I went back out. I wok back up to the doctor saying she had to use the vacuum and honestly I just didn't care at that point, I woke up in an excrutiating amount of pain. So they did that and finally got her out. I very narrowly escaped a c-section that time. I barely remember them handing Melly to me and then I went back out. I woke up once and looked at my mom and wondered why she was in my bedroom holding a blanket. Went back out and finally woke up clearheaded. I have no clue how long I was out in total and that was my most horrible birth experience and my saddest. Now Melly is gone and I can't remember anything good about bringing her into the world. When I finally did wake up the doctor told me that Melly was a sunny-side up baby and that's why I had such a hard time getting her out.
With this new LO, I am having my homebirth. I really want it this time as this will most likely be my last one.
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#84 of 93 Old 05-02-2008, 09:02 PM
 
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Hi I will try to keep this as short as I can. I've posted tons of other posts on DS's birth and not nursing and I THINK Sophia's birth story is on here.

The short of DS's birth is that I went to an OB "in case I needed it" being a first timer, i 'didn't know if I would be normal' (too much Discovery Health Channel!) I was induced 3 days prior to my EDD using what I know now had to be Cytotec. (If I had known then what I know now I would've run screaming the other way). I was told I "measured too big."

the only thing I knew about birth at that time was that my friend had a 24 hour non induced labor and a 6 hour induction. I opted for short.

DS was born after 12.5 hours, a stall-out time, and some Pitocin. I credit my doula as the reason I didn't end up with an epidural and cesearean.

He was too drugged to nurse after birth. (this I realized weeks later unfortunately. I had been told it was a 'tiny dose' of Stadol) And then he was jaundiced and wanted to sleep. And they came in after 7 hours and told me if I did not allow my child to try a bottle, he would end up blind and or mentally retarded because he was jaundiced. They told me my options were bottle or a tube down his nose to his stomach. Hmm what would you choose?

Well 4 lactation consultants and 6 months of pumping later, he never did learn to latch on and had allergies to dairy and soy that I now know were caused by the early introduction of formula as a supplement to what I could pump.

When I got the two lines on the stick 18 months later, I knew things would be different this time. I'd already chosen my CNM, who has an excellent reputation among LLL here. I sailed through the pregnancy. She allowed me to opt out of a pap at my first appointment and the diabetes test. We became friends to a point...I felt guilty making different plans for this birth! (more on 3 later)
My daughter was born 9 days before her due date in a different hospital from my son, 90 minutes after I arrived in the maternity ward. I wouldn't even say it was 'painful' until transition in the tub at the hospital, and I was 7 cm dilated when I showed up!
The entire labor from the moment I woke up and wondered if it was for real or just more pre-labor that was going to go away and the birth was 5 hours, 20 minutes, and the 20 minutes was pushing!

I had great aromatherapy and foot-massage plans for my doula, but we didn't even have time to use them!

She latched on and nursed within minutes of birth and nursed so much her second day that the nurse who kept coming in to ask said she should just write 'nursed fine all day' on her chart LOL
She is 15 months old and still nursing happily.


I'm currently pregnant with baby #3. While I would happily do Sophia's birth over a hundred times, with the addition of making it a waterbirth....we are possibly moving to where I could actually birth at home with a midwife!

So the PLAN is a home waterbirth....IF we get time to fill the tub! with Sophie's midwife and hospital as my backup plan. I felt really guilty telling her that, but she understood completely.

So far this pregnancy is easy like the others. I will go to my CNM for one ultrasound. It will give me a sense of security, and I also loved the extra sense of bonding that seemed to happen between Z and S because we could talk about HER by name.
I am again going to not do the diabetes test and won't do other interventions as long as everything stays as it is now.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
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#85 of 93 Old 05-03-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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I quit bc pills one month before dh and I got married because I felt they were a bad thing for my body- too unnatural, and after the wedding we learned about NFP (we're catholic, it was easy info to get lol). We were married over a year before we tried to concieve. I remember being asked if my first dc was planned and answering "Exactly how many minutes are required to call it planned?" We wanted dd very much, and got pregnant the first month we tried. My pregnancy was healthy and uneventful. I worked in a hospital, and knew very little of alternative birth choices at the time. I spent that pregnancy always feeling like my OB visits were lacking in some way I couldn't put my finger on. With my birth, I went to the hospital too soon, had an epidural, complications from it, but still a vaginal birth. Never wanted to birth that way again.

Two years later, dh and I decided to try again. This time, conception was not so easy. I had discovered MDC when dd was 1 and I didn't want to wean and needed support. I learned SO much here- cloth diapers, intact foreskins, CLW, the list goes on. So when ttc started to take some time, I came here for support. I made friends here- we chatted charts and herbs, sticks and lines. Dh and I ttc for over 2 years- it was the most difficult thing I had ever been through. I was missing a person I had never met, I felt powerless and spiritually lost. Eventually I found the book The Infertility Cure by Radine Lewis- I made radical chages to my life- I gave up wheat, dairy, raw veggies, and sugar, I did accupresser, took foot soaks and did yoga. After 3 months of that, I still wasn't pregnant. We asked my OB for clomid- she didn't really want to prescribe it, but did anyway. I got pregnant the first month!

I went back to the OB for follow up blood work, which was good. I had spotting at 6 weeks, and returned to the OB to learn that there was a sac seperation- and was put on progesterone. Shortly there after, I realized the OB experience was not one I wanted again. I found wonderful homebirth midwives and switched my care to them. They were awesome and supportive. I was happy to be pregnant, but had a lot of anxiety. After ttc for so long, I didn't feel worthy to be pregnant or have a healthy child. Fortunately that didn't matter. Five days after my due date, I had a wonderful home water birth. It was the most healing, amazing, empowering experience of my life. According to my midwife, ds was "amazingly healthy" scoring a 9/10 apgar score despite being a water birth.

Ds's great birth helped to heal a lot of the pain of my first birth, and ttc for so long. But I will carry both of those experiences with me forever. I think I would like to have a 3rd child someday, but I don't ever want to struggle to ttc again.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#86 of 93 Old 05-03-2008, 08:40 PM
 
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My first birth was at home with a midwife. I labored in a birth tub, but ended up pushing on my bed after a :jumping the gun: incident where I pushed too early(too much eagerness!). I was in labor for 18 hours and pushed for about 2. It was an awesome experience and I remember saying to the midwife, this is IT? This is what everyone freaked me out about?? It so wasn't what I expected, and all in all it was very easy(except for my failed experiment that led me to have to not push-excruiating!).

With this pregnancy, I am so much more worried about the birth(which is planned at home with the same midwife again-hoping for a water birth this time!) maybe because all of the stories I have heard about labor being more intense and faster for the second. I had a nice slow transition with #1, so I am concerned it will be too much...but I am hopeful that it will be all good.

I am just SO anxious to meet my little boy!! And I keep telling myself that labor isn't forever and I get the best prize for the pain ever-my baby!!

Kara, Chad, dd L(5) and ds E(3) and expecting baby E on Valetine's Day grouphug.gif~We are a home-birthing, baby-wearing, home-made, co-sleeping, no-vax, crafting(both of items and of magick!), green living and loving family in Southern NH

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#87 of 93 Old 05-04-2008, 12:46 AM
 
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What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?
These days there is so much emphasis on physical preparation for conception, but IMO being emotionally and psychologically prepared for the demands of motherhood makes a huge difference. New mothers often walk around with a sense of shock, amazed that their lives have changed forever, in ways that they didn't anticipate. I guess that I was "lucky" that way. I was so terrified of motherhood that I spent a couple of years frequenting an AP email group and I learned so much about what to expect from parents who were living it every day. I think that helped to interpret my experiences as "normal" - even if they were challenging.

I also had a different normal than most women with respect to birth: my mother birthed her four children at home over a span of 17 years. For me, the idea of birthing in a hospital was terrifying and foreign. I birthed both of my babies at home but they were very different births. In the first birth, I looked to my midwives for guidance, then later regretted overriding my own instincts and need for privacy. I birthed my second baby without medical assistance or witness. It was incredible to be alone with my family, welcoming a new baby into our family in the most private, gentle way possible .

I have also been privileged to witness a truly wonderful medicated hospital birth where the system worked beautifully to support the birthing mother . That was a real eye-opener for me, I admit it.

sharing life with | 10 yo ds | 8 yo dd | dh (since 2012)
"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#88 of 93 Old 05-04-2008, 01:12 AM
 
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That's a good point, Ksenia, and as you said, one that is often missed (including by me, in these discussions). That part of my preparation, well, began with my own childhood, of course, but moreso later, when my first peers started having kids, and later still when I had the joy and privilege of doing part time care for a lovely breastfed, cosleeping toddler. And as you can see by my join date, I found MDC well before I started TTC, much less became a mother. As you did, I found I wasn't particularly surprised by much of the early days of parenting, because I was here, watching and learning all the wide variations of normal. I now like to say that really, the only reason one can't ever TRULY know what parenthood is like before one has children is because one doesn't know ahead of time the particular child one has the blessing to be parenting! The same goes for pregnancy and birth; I was expecting to not know what it was going to be like, so I knew what to expect, if you follow me. I think part of why my birth was so joyful and enjoyable (as well as painful) was that non-expectation, which I was only able to achieve by learning as much as I could and hearing so many different stories. I was able to just let go, and be in the moment while my story (my baby's story) unfolded.
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#89 of 93 Old 05-04-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
I now like to say that really, the only reason one can't ever TRULY know what parenthood is like before one has children is because one doesn't know ahead of time the particular child one has the blessing to be parenting!
From observing my crowd of older professional types becoming parents, I think that there can be barriers to truly understanding parenthood even though the information is there. For example, some dear friends recently became parents. They had several friends (including us) who had freely shared the joys and struggles of parenthood with them. But when they became parents they were completely shocked by how it changed their lives and by how hard it was. And they had one normal, relatively "easy" baby . They later admitted that they believed that they would be able to "do parenting better" than their friends, and thus would not experience the same challenges as their friends had. They were used to being successful individuals - attractive, great careers, healthy and fit, lots of friends, great relationship, etc. For them, trying to meet their own needs while meeting their baby's needs was a very humbling experience and they recognized that they had been over-confident about the whole process of birth and early parenthood. Fortunately, they are mature and self-aware people who are adjusting to the situation. I think that Whole Child/Whole Parent is such a wonderful book that writes about the identity shift and ego adjustment that goes with becoming a parent. Another book that I think would be sooo helpful for new parents is What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing. The book's title is so apt because, as a society, we have trouble "seeing" the work of parenting. Those two books really describe what the inner and outer work of parenting looks like.
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Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
The same goes for pregnancy and birth; I was expecting to not know what it was going to be like, so I knew what to expect, if you follow me. I think part of why my birth was so joyful and enjoyable (as well as painful) was that non-expectation, which I was only able to achieve by learning as much as I could and hearing so many different stories. I was able to just let go, and be in the moment while my story (my baby's story) unfolded.
Reading many birth stories was sooo helpful for preparing for my births. Even when there was a "birth emergency" during my first home birth and my apartment was invaded by first responders, I had a pretty realistic perspective about what was going on. Reading unassisted birth stories was especially helpful for understanding birth as a normal, instinctive process.

sharing life with | 10 yo ds | 8 yo dd | dh (since 2012)
"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#90 of 93 Old 05-05-2008, 09:48 AM
 
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I never intended to be a birth advocate. Before I was pregnant with my first, I never imagined there was anything to advocate for. Everyone I knew talked about epidurals, episiotomies, and c-sections like they were no big deal and I don't remember thinking much about it.

When I found out I was pregnant I became obsessed with getting more information. I was so excited and just wanted to learn as much as I could about how the baby was growing and changes in my body. I was in the middle of a PhD thesis and, marooned on campus, I headed to the university bookstore to see what they had on pregnancy. Instead of "what to expect..." I found an amazing book called "Childbirth Wisdom" in the anthropology/women studies section of the bookstore. Thank my lucky stars! I believe this first read, detailing the birthing stories of women from all different indigenous cultures and the beauty of these natural processes, was the fist big push I had toward the natural family living path. After this read, I did eventually buy "what to expect" but decided I couldn't take the alarmist style... nothing about it seemed natural or helpful to me.

The second stroke of luck I had was moving to the Stanford area in the middle of my pregnancy and strolling into the ob/gyn clinic at the hospital. I still hadn't discovered the possibility of a midwife attended birth and assumed that the great stories I read in the Childbirth Wisdom book could just as easily happen for me... it is, after all a natural process, right? (I'm amazed now how incredibly naive I was). Well, the OBs were all booked, but if I didn't mind, they could get me an appointment with one of their midwives for that months visit. I thought, huh... sure, why not?

Well, after an hour long conversation with the midwife, I thought there wasn't any good reason not to continue seeing the midwives for the remaining visits and the birth. We really clicked and I liked the extra time to ask all my questions.

Also, about this time, my husband stumbled on an issue of Mothering at the bookstore and picked it up for me. He had read through it and thought that I would like it. Bonus!

Well, being with the midwives in the hospital for my birth was a real eye opening experience. I saw time and time again that she was almost physically protecting me from the rest of the hospital. She gave me the choice to not induce when a tech had told me that it was immediately necessary because of the results of a non stress test. She chased people out of the room. She chose a nurse that would put up with intermittent fetal monitoring. She calmly reminded the nurse to wait until I was between contraction to use it. It turned out to be an amazing incredible birth experience for all involved.

Since then, I've gotten into childbirth education, co-sleeping, had a homebirth, and have breastfed each of my children for more than 4 years a piece. None of it has seemed to be a big stretch or stress for me or my husband. It has always felt like the very natural way to do things although I have become more aware with time at the obstacles present in our society to this natural path.

Cheers to Mothering for supporting natural family living!
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