Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is going to get UGLY!

You'd better stand back because this is going to bet ugly!


On Monday I had my dreaded "VBAC consultation" with an obstetrician. I wasn't looking forward to this meeting for several reasons:

  1. It seems ridiculous to me to require a woman to have to sign a form stating that she would like to be "allowed" to use her vagina for one of its intended purposes
  2. I knew that the consultation would center around the doctor looking over my birth history and then HE would decide if I was a good candidate for VBAC
  3. I had a surgical birth for reasons not likely to recur
  4. I've ALREADY HAD a VBAC!
  5. I have already signed a form stating I understand the risks and benefits of VBAC and cesarean

Overall, the consultation went just as I'd expected. The doctor first asked me if I was having a repeat cesarean or a VBAC (obviously he didn't know I'm seeing the midwife, who is not a surgeon and cannot perform a c-section). Then, before he even examined my prior birth history, the doctor launched into a list of the benefits of a planned repeat cesarean and the risks of VBAC. Yes, it was a discussion of "risks vs benefits", but do you notice what's missing? There was absolutely NO discussion of the risks of repeat cesarean or the benefits of VBAC!

Finally the doctor looks over my birth history (because, don'tchaknow, a doctor has to deem a woman a "good candidate" for a "trial of labor"), and he noticed my children's birth weights (3lbs 10oz at 37 weeks and 5lbs 2 oz at 41 weeks). Then, he dropped a bombshell:

"Well, we can let you try a VBAC if you want to, but I don't really see
it happening. Your other children were so small and this baby is going to be a
normal size. I give you a 50/50 chance. It's just not likely to happen."
WHAT?!?!?!?

First of all, there is no "we". You're not even my care provider, doc! I am giving birth. M-E. Not you. Second, you don't "let me" do anything. You give me the information I need to make an informed decision and then you stand back and let me decide. As far as "not really see[ing] it happening," oh you have no idea how I would adore dragging your butt out of bed and having you watch me push this baby out!

NOW, WHAT IN THE WORLD do you mean I can't give birth to a "normal-sized" baby? I've heard of doctors giving mothers the "big baby card" and the "dead baby card". I have even been given the "small baby card". No wonder the cesarean rate in this country is skyrocketing! You just can't please these doctors!! "You can't birth this baby because she's too small" and "you can't birth this baby because she's just the right size". A nation of schizophrenic obstetricians... and women simply line up to be strapped down--MADNESS!!!!

Now, dear doctor, here is my "VBAC consent form":

  • I had a cesarean for reasons not likely to recur.
  • I had a low, transverse incision with an uncomplicated physical recovery.
  • It has been 4.5 years since my cesarean.
  • I have had a subsequent vaginal birth (VBAC).
  • I understand that, having had a successful vaginal birth, my risk for uterine rupture is less than 1%.
  • I understand that the risks of a repeat cesarean include: death, hemorrhage, blood clots, injury to bladder, bowel, uterus, injury to baby, excessive blood loss and hysterectomy.

I declare myself an autonomous woman, of sound mind and body, and hereby state my decision to have a VBAC.

Signed,

VBACwarrior

Monday, April 13, 2009

Intermission

I won't be around for the next two weeks. We're moving (well, sort of. I'll explain later) and I won't have internet access for awhile. Hey, when I come back I'll be 32 weeks!

To Rixa and Michele, I hope I don't "miss" your births, but I'm afraid I might :( Happy birthing, mamas!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Catching Lizards

April is Cesarean Awareness month

Instead of talking about the shockingly high cesarean rates in the country, instead of bemoaning the multitude of risks that cesareans carry, instead of lauding the benefits of vaginal birth, I have decided to talk about my own personal contribution to "cesarean awareness".

In about ten weeks I will be giving birth to my third child, my second daughter. Though my first daughter didn't get the benefit of a vaginal birth, she has been blessed (and educated) by witnessing my labor with my second child and she will be present for my labor and birth with our new baby girl. We talk a lot about birth in our home. She has seen pictures and videos of women giving birth. She tries to "teach" her little brother about the birth process, and she has an amazing grasp of the process for a four-year-old. She knows that birth is hard and sometimes hurts but, she says, "so it catching lizards!"

I don't know how the "birth culture" in our home will affect my son's view of birth. My hope is that, should he marry a woman who grew up in the same "culture" as he did, he would be fully supportive of her trust in birth and approach it with the same trust.

I do have four sisters, as well, though I'm unsure what influence I've had on them. H hated her cesarean so much that she's decided she doesn't want anymore children. A was so damaged by her cesarean (physically) that she probably can't have anymore children. L gave birth, at age 15, to a 38 week stillborn baby and is scared to death of that repeating itself. No cause of death was ever found. That leaves B, who will be 17 in June, as witness to all these traumatic births of her older sisters. Of all my sisters, it's B I really want to be present for Anna's birth. She needs to see a normal, healthy, joyful birth.

There are wonderful organizations, like ICAN, working to change the birth culture in our country. There are many bloggers; mothers, OBs, midwives, childbirth educators, nurses. I love and admire the work they do and the difference they're making. However, it is so hard to change fears and attitudes in grown, child-bearing women. The fears are deeply rooted. The misinformation already wrapped up tightly in their minds.

Why don't we begin earlier? Give birth to a baby vaginally. Tell a two year old that a baby "comes out of mommy's vagina". Let your four year old tell you that birthing a baby is like catching lizards. Let a six year old witness birth. Let an eight year old hold your hand and kiss your face as you labor. Let a ten year old help catch a baby.

Let's bring our children up in a culture of trust and respect for birth and they will bring the birth machine down.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Shucked

This poem is part of my How I Got Here post on my sidebar, but I thought it deserved it's own "space" so now I'm giving it one.


Shucked


To think of myself as an animal

Led to the slaughter

Not really choosing

They stripped me

They shaved me

They shot me

Full of fear

So I'd be losing

All the feeling

But the feeling never goes

I heard 'oh you won't feel anything'

When I couldn't move my toes

First the needle

Then the knife

And they say that it's all right

They say I'll feel some tugging

But I don't, I just feel nothing

I was screened from my body

It's bloody

The baby, where's my baby

There's the baby

Could be anybody's baby

They take it away

And I'm left on the table

I want to be happy

But right now I'm not able

To see past the


blood


and the


light


And the


screen


Strapped to a table

The end of the dream

Gutted and cold

In pain and alone

Unable to speak, or to cry or

To moan


But the hate

And the anger

And the pain

Will subside

After I've grieved

After I've cried

I won't have the nightmares

Or wake with such fright

I'll think back and smile

On that terrible night


My wonderful baby

So tiny and pink

At that moment all I could

Think of was

my pain and

my fear

But what about you?

So cold and so scared

So little, so new


I look in your eyes

And I know what to do

I'll weep and

I'll mourn

Then I'll tuck it away

Doesn't mean it's not there

But I'll keep it at bay


So now when I think about how

My baby came into this world

I choose to think of myself as an oyster

And my beautiful baby,the pearl.




Thursday, April 2, 2009

Disney World, hiding a baby and all's well

What a wonderful vacation! First I'd like to thank Disney for having the foresight to put changing tables in men's restrooms. I found out very quickly that my aching (then) 27 week back couldn't handle heaving a hefty 2 year old up onto changing tables that are way too high for this short mama. My husband was so nice to take over diaper duty for almost the entire vacation!





A small (or not so small) complaint, though. Did you know those awesome 'baby care centers' in each park are sponsored by Nestle Good Start? Ugh! Maybe LLL could look into sponsoring at least one of them? Would that offend anyone?





I don't have any actual "belly pics" this morning, but here's a picture of Sarah, Caleb, a bear and me outside of Animal Kingdom. That's my 27 week 3 day belly.


I had my 28 week appointment yesterday. Guess what? Anna and I are completely healthy! Surprising, huh? I think it shocks people these days when a pregnant woman doesn't have anything "wrong" with her. That's so sad! Blood pressure is low, urine is clear, fundal height is 28cm. Anna is very active and strong, much more so than my other two babies were. I didn't ask about her position, but I know she's vertex because I can feel her little bottom.

Confession time. Before a few weeks ago, I always thought pregnant women were babies when they complained of common pregnancy discomforts like heart burn, aching 'sagging' belly, sore feet, pain in the back, etc. Well, add me to the pregnant 'baby' club! I don't know if it's because this is my third pregnancy or because I finally have a "normal" size baby, but I'm feeling pregnant and I'm grumpy about it!