Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finding a "super" supporter

As I was thinking over my pregnancy plans, HG protocol, etc this morning I realized that my task in finding a care provider is two-fold. I must find a provider who is both HG supportive AND vbac supportive.

Is this the impossible dream? I fear it might be. A supportive HG provider must be very proactive and intervention-minded, whereas a truly supportive vbac provider must not be. How can the two exist in the same person?

I'm becoming more and more convinced that my best option is to find the most HG supportive provider I can, even if that means I must "sign up" for a cesarean at my first appointment, and then birthing at home unassisted.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Plans, Plans, Plans

So many plans to be made! Our lives are so much different, so-full!-now. My first experience with HG was traumatic, but I only had to find a way to care for myself. My second experience with HG was more challenging because I had a very young toddler to care for. Still, there was just one child (who still napped) and family to help. Hyperemesis part three was the hardest thing I've ever done, to date. I had two active, non-napping children to care for and we'd moved away from family. The kids and I had to move back home and my mother-in-law practically raised them for five months. I was hospitalized for a week.

This time we're in for a ride! This next pregnancy will test our faith, above all, but also our commitment to each other and our endurance. A new pregnancy will find us with a school-aged daughter, a preschool son and a toddler daughter. Our oldest daughter began homeschooling this year the beginning of a new pregnancy will find us at the beginning of 1st grade and pre-K. My toddler shows no sighs of weaning and also co-sleeps. How will I manage nursing one child, homeschooling two children all while living on the bathroom floor for 9 months? We've decided not to separate this time, so we'll be away from any family who might've helped.

This season we're entering will be one that lives in infamy!

I know you think we're crazy. I know. But so is the "Iron Man" who pushes his body to its tipping point, no? And Iron Man finishes where he began. Our family will finish with a brand new immortal soul in the world. We'll end with ten hands helping two more emerge. We will be more, not less. Stronger, not weaker.

Unlike previous pregnancies, I hope to have internet access throughout. I'm looking forward to sharing this Phoenix-journey with you and chronicling how I make it through.

Kyrie eleison down the road that I must travel.

Monday, October 25, 2010

When I Used a Pencil


Before I had a blog, before I knew what a blog was, I had a no. 2 pencil that must be sharpened and I had a hardback journal with pages that smelled of ink and libraries. I kept a journal all through middle school, high school and college. Every now and then I'd throw out all my old journals. I don't know why. Maybe I felt that I was only writing for myself, and so there was no need to keep chronicles of adventures I'd never have again, people I'd never see again, places and events I wanted to forget. I wish I had those journals now though.
One month after I graduated college I quit writing. Writers are "oppressed", aren't they? I was a married college graduate whose job it was to care for my husband and home. Gone was the teen angst, the girlish catty drama, college adventures and dreams of what "might be." What "might be" had become what "was" and there was nothing to write about.
When I first became pregnant I felt the desire to write again. One creative process begetting another, maybe? My first pregnancy journal was difficult to write. It began with such promise and so much excitement. I was pregnant! I was going to be a mother! My happiness quickly turned to horror as hyperemesis descended upon me. There would be days, then weeks between entries. The pages were full of morose musings and fogged with depression. The neat handwriting turned into barely-visible scrawls because I was too weak to hold the pencil properly. There were little dots of green and yellow vomit stains. With everything I lived through in that pregnancy--the hyperemesis, the "homelessness", the hurricane, the gallbladder attacks, the cesarean--I think it could rightly be subtitled "the little book of horrors".
Most of what I've written on this blog was written with some time and space (and sweet, precious children) between my writing and the actual events. I have my journals though, I thought I'd share a little from them, starting with my first pregnancy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is it...?

Is it a stomach illness or. . . ? Not sure. Deep breaths.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Something Right

Since Anna's birth 15 months ago, I've questioned my decision to allow Sarah to be present at the birth. She asked to. She begged to. She adored her sister from the moment she found out Anna was a girl. What a priceless bonding experience, I thought, for an older sister to attend her baby sister's birth, to "be there" for her from the moment of her birth.

Sarah is very mature for her age. At age three, strangers thought she was in kindergarten. She understands ideas and concepts with an adult-like clarity. We've never had "the birds and the bees talk" with her and yet she understands, somehow, that the making and birthing of a baby is a collaboration between God and (universal) Man. In preparation for Anna's birth, Sarah and I watched dozens of birth videos on youtube. She was fascinated, not frightened. She would tell anyone who'd listen, "my mommy is going to push my baby sister out of her buh-gina!"

So we were all set, right?

All the birth videos we watched were of women giving birth either sitting up or semi-reclined. You could clearly see the women's vaginas and the baby's heads as they were born. When Anna was born, I was on my hands and knees. Sarah could see the baby's head as it first emerged, and instead of seeing it come from my vagina, it looked as if, in Sarah's words, I was "pooping her out". Sarah didn't like that.

She wasn't as excited about Anna's birth as I'd hoped she'd be. It wasn't the huge sister bonding experience I expected. She didn't seem to be in awe of the birthing process. I was so disappointed! Had I made the right decision to allow her to attend Anna's birth? Had she been so traumatized by the birth that she wouldn't have a respect and love for birth as an adult?

Last week my disappointment turned to joy after a conversation Sarah and I had.

Sarah: Mommy, I think I want to be a doctor when I grow up.
Me: That sounds like fun. Do you think you'll be a mommy, too?
Sarah: Well...not really. I think just a doctor.
Me: Why don't you want to be a mommy?
Sarah: Because having the baby is really hard work!


When she talked about birth as "really hard work" my heart soared! She didn't view birth as painful, or gross, or scary or unimportant. It was just hard work. I asked her if learning to ride her bike, learning to read and write, and learning to crack eggs were hard work and she agreed they were. So I asked, "but now that you have those skills, aren't you glad you went through the hard work?" She said she was.

It's been one of my goals to raise my children with a respect for the normal birth process. I think I'm doing something right.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bad Breastfeeding Advice?


Anna is 15 months old today and still in love with nursing. She shows no signs of wanting to stop nursing and even nurses a few times at night. She even nursed through five weeks of Pertussis this summer. I'm happy with that!

Two nights ago she had a temperature of 103.4 and experienced a febrile seizure. I've been a mother for nearly six years now but that was my first time dealing with one of those. It was terrifying. It was also very physically painful for me because she was nursing when the seizure came on, and she clamped her four sharp teeth right down on my nipple and I wasn't able to pry them off! I honestly thought my nipple was going to be bitten right off.

Normally we don't take the children to a doctor for a fever, but since she had a febrile seizure I thought it warranted a quick trip. The doctor didn't seem to think anything of the seizure, but was horrified that I hadn't taken her to the emergency room for such a high fever. Our older two always get very high temperatures when they're ill and we've never had any problems with that.

Her problem was that she had a double inner-ear infection. The doctor asked if she had diarrhea also and I said yes. She told me that I needed to quit nursing her for 24 hours because "dairy is not good for diarrhea". I didn't feel like arguing with her, so I just smiled and nodded. When I got home I looked it up (as I always do when a doctor gives me breastfeeding advice) and found this from KellyMom.com

The current recommendations when vomiting or diarrhea is present in the breastfed child are as follows:

•Breastfeeding should be the FIRST choice if your child can take anything by mouth. Because of the ease and rapidity with which breastmilk is digested, even if your child vomits or stools shortly after nursing, he will still have retained some of the nutrients. Other foods that are often suggested (such as Pedialyte, sports drinks, gelatins and sodas) offer little nutritional value and none of the antibodies that human milk contains.


•When your breastfed child is ill you'll want to offer more frequent feedings -- this can limit the volume taken in at one time and helps to comfort and soothe a sick child. If your child is vomiting often and not keeping the milk down for long, it may be helpful to breastfeed frequently but limit the length of each nursing session (so your child takes in less milk at once). Another option is for Mom to express some milk before breastfeeding so that the milk flow is slower. RARELY does the baby who is allowed to breastfeed at will during a vomiting or diarrhea illness become dehydrated.

So, I didn't feel the need to quit nursing her. It was so strange, because the doctor seemed to be very supportive of breastfeeding, even past infancy. She treated my nursing a 15 month old as completely normal. She was surprised that Anna was eating solid food, though. I told her she ate nearly everything we did and the doctor said, "oh? so you puree it then?" I said that I just cut everything into small bites and she said, "so she has chewing teeth?" I said no, just the four in front, but she could chew fine with her gums. The doctor didn't seem to understand that. She's from India, so I'm wondering what Indian mothers feed their toddlers?

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Green


Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. It's a disgusting picture, isn't it? So is HG. So why, then, why am I looking forward to another baby--another pregnancy? Last night my husband and I were discussing my previous pregnancies and were having a fun argument over how much weight I actually lost and in how much time. He said it wasn't so bad, that 30 lbs in 12 weeks is just a little more than 2 lbs a week. I corrected him, saying that I hadn't started getting sick until week six, so I actually lost 30 lbs in six weeks. That was with my first pregnancy. The rest of our conversation went something like this:

Husband: Yeah, but that was with Sarah. You weren't as sick with the other two.
Me: I know. I only lost 25lbs with Anna and about 15 with Caleb.
Husband: Oh. I forgot how bad it was. [pause] ...and you want to do that again??


The expression on his face said, "I wonder if it would be appropriate to suggest shock therapy?"

Yes, I want to do it again. Again and again and again, Lord willing. What is right and what is worth it are rarely easy. I chose to have a cesarean with Sarah because I cared about her. It wasn't easy. It was scary and painful and lonely, but she was worth it. I planned a (socially unacceptable) HBAC with Caleb, labored for 50+ hours at home and chose to transport to the hospital. For a good southern girl to do anything out of the mainstream required a strength of character I hadn't known I possessed. To labor that long required stamina and faith. To transport to the hospital with the real threat of another section looming required the courage of ten Davids, but he was worth it. When I was told, with my third pregnancy, that I couldn't have a VBAC because no one here attended them, I moved out of state. That decision required that I live as a single mother of a four-year-old and a two-year-old while engaging a third fight with HG, but she was worth it.

Difficult tasks often require of us traits we don't associate with ourselves. Ask any president of any country if his or her job is easy. Ask a doctor what medical school and residency required of him. Ask a judge, a teacher, a soldier, a marathon runner. Their jobs require extreme faith, vigilance, focus, courage, resolve, strength--sacrifice! They do what they do because it's worth it. It's worth it all. I know all of the jobs I mentioned are laudable jobs in today's culture, and people applaud and reward the sacrifices of those who choose them. Everyone has had a mother though, and each mother makes equally noble, soul-searing, courageous sacrifices for her child, even if that choice is nothing more than allowing another, weaker, human-being to live within her body until he's strong enough to live with-out it.

Yes, I'm looking forward to another pregnancy, another baby. Yes it will be one of the most difficult things I've ever done. Yes...he or she is worth it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thought on my births

When I was planning my HBAC (home birth after cesarean) with baby #2 I was looking at songs for my birth video. Lately, some of the words of Jewel’s “Life Uncommon” have moved me

Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend you strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead a life uncommon
Let your words enslave no one and the heavens will hush themselves
To hear our voices ring out clear
With sounds of freedom

So, then, I’ve decided that instead of raging against my section I will revel in the excruciating beauty of my vaginal births. Please don’t take this to mean that I don’t love my cesarean-born daughter. The Bible says, “greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13 and when a mother consents to a section she truly, literally lays down her life. Cesareans aren’t 100% safe and the number of women dying from cesarean complications is on the rise. I took a Bradley Method class in preparation for an un-medicated hospital birth so when I consented to the section I was fully aware of the risks. I only say all of this because I have been accused here a number of times of not loving my daughter.

When I think of Caleb’s birth I think of hands and rocks. That’s what my birth attendants and family were. They were rocks to support me and hands to hold me. Though you could call Caleb’s birth a “failed homebirth attempt”, I don’t view it as such. I gave him a beautiful 40 hours of stress-free, peaceful, and intervention-free labor at home. Caleb and I walked together, rocked on the swing outside, and I prayed over him in the warmth of my birth tub. My doula encouraged me, my midwife watched over me, my husband supported me and my mother and all my sisters were witnesses to my hard, loving work. I even had sex!

Then there was Anna’s birth. I got to the hospital not knowing I was in labor, having just gone up to be “checked” because it was 3a.m. and my insomniac sister and I were awake and bored. Not only was I in labor, but I was about to give birth! I don’t even know how to describe Anna’s birth. I arrived at the hospital at 7cm and didn’t feel anything in the way of pain or intensity until 9cm. I had a birth ball put onto the bed and leaned and rocked over it until it got uncomfortable. Then I climbed up onto the bed and got on my hands and knees. It felt good and right. I felt led by…something. It was as if there was an instruction guide in my head and my body was following it and leading me along. The way my senses came alive, it was overwhelming! I could hear the tick, tick, ticking of the second hand on the clock behind me. I was intensetly focused the vein in my right hand pulsing with the same rhythm as my uterus. I cold smell the acrid, metallic bitterness of John’s glasses as he stood by (don’t touch me, just watch. Watch what’s going to happen!). I could feel Anna moving, turning, pushing her way out. She was ready, and I was ready, and it was as if she was saying to me, “quiet your mind and I’ll show you the way,” and I responded, “I’ll follow you”. My body and my mind were laid bare that morning; open wide and accepting of forces beyond their control. I wasn’t hooked up to machines. No one told me what to do or instructed me. Everyone in the room was simply a witness, as in a wedding ceremony. Do you, Becky Taylor, accept the solemn duty to birth and mother this baby, leading and following in turn, as necessary? I do…and then she was born, behind me. She was quiet for a moment and then she called out to me and I turned to face her for the first time. Those are the only moments from her conception that we’ve been emotionally separated; those few seconds before she breathed life.

As much as I adore, admire, respect and love my Sarah, my cesarean-born child, I cannot describe her birth the way I can Caleb’s and Anna’s, and that’s why I choose vaginal birth.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

He's Here! He's Here!

After my sister got her epidural last night her labor slowed down quite a bit. She finally got to 5cm and then an hour later was completely dilated!



Introducing baby Damian!


Born on Friday, July 9 at 10:14 p.m.
and weighing 7lbs, 2oz.

In Loving Memory of Baby Izaiah, born still at 38 weeks in December 2005
Sister L with baby Izaiah
Four years later with his brother, Damian



Friday, July 9, 2010

Today's THE Day!

So, today's the big day! Sister L's baby will be born, one way or another. For those of you who don't know sister L's birth history, you can read her story here.


She's 36 weeks, 1 day. She's been in the hospital for 4 or 5 days for "observation". Her induction was supposed to start last night at midnight, but there were no "LDR" rooms available and the nursery was "overflowing" with babies.

We're all so nervous for her. Really, we've all been nervous the entire pregnancy! I'm hoping this baby can be born as peacefully as possible, but they've already had her sign a cesarean consent form. That's not good news.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My hometown is being eaten by a black, oily monster


Friday, May 28, 2010

When You Grow Up, Girl


Come back when you grow up, girl
You're still livin' in a paper-doll world
Livin' ain't easy, lovin's twice as tough
So come back, baby, when you grow up

You look real good like a woman now
Your mind hasn't gotten the message somehow
So if you can't take it 'n' the goin' gets rough
Come back, baby, when you grow up
~from "Come Back When You Grow Up Girl"
by Bobby Vee




I turned 29 years old last month, but apparently I still look like a teenager. I've always looked younger than my age would suggest. Two recent examples: When I was admitted to the hospital at 13 weeks pregnant (at age 28) to be treated for severe HG, the intake nurse asked me about the highest level of education I'd completed. When I told her I had a bachelor's degree her head snapped in my direction and she mused, "Huh. I thought you were just 15 or 16!" This last week when we were at the rehearsal for my brother-in-law's wedding I was walking with Anna in the Ergo, Caleb holding my hand and Sarah walking two or three steps in front of us. A lady sitting on a bench stopped my and asked, "Are they all yours?" When I answered "yes, ma'am!" she clicked her tongue a bit, shook her head in shame and said, "No. no. You're just too young to have all them children!"



I've never wanted to be, or look, older than I am. My dream has always been to be treated as an adult. My husband likes to say, "Becky, you're a 29 year old married mother of three children. You need to start seeing yourself as an adult!" How can I view myself as something opposite what nearly everyone else sees?



When I was pregnant with my first child, Sarah, I thought that having a baby would make me feel more "grown up". I felt certain that becoming a mother would elevate me society's eyes and I'd be respected, finally, as a woman, a mother. Sure, we snicker and roll our eyes when a teenage girl says that about why she had a baby with her boyfriend, but there is truth in feeling that a baby will mature a girl/woman.



As a first-time, pregnant mother I never felt more childish. I felt stripped--robbed--of any adulthood and autonomy I'd gained. At my very first prenatal appointment, someone who was not the doctor came in, told me she was going to do an ultrasound and without waiting for a reply or permission, stuck a thin ultrasound "probe" into my vagina. She had a difficult time finding my uterus and said so in a way that implied it was my fault. So I did what any polite southern child would do and apologized. During a subsequent visit I was told that I wasn't a good mother because I was so squeamish that is was impossible for the lab technician to draw my blood. Once, when trying to explain the extent of my (pre-diagnosed hyperemesis) nausea, the doctor spoke down to me condescendingly and said that I was being a baby, that women (implying I was a baby, not a woman) the world over dealt with morning sickness all the time without complaining, and that I should just suck lemons.



Despite all this, I harboured hope that the act of giving birth would make me a "real woman". I'd give birth on my own, without anyone holding my legs, without anyone telling me when or how to breathe, without numbing or mind-altering drugs. I'd push my baby out with my own strength, hold her in my arms, and feed her with my breasts. Yet, if you've read here long enough you know that none of those dreams were realized. I was taken in for an unexpected cesarean at 37 weeks. I wasn't told exactly why I needed the section, just that my uterus was a "hostile environment" for my baby and she'd be "better off" outside of my body. I was numbed from the chest down, strapped to a table and cut open. My baby was brought forth from my body by the gloved hands of a stranger who didn't even know her name, instead proclaiming that she was "her peanut". Finally, with a slashed uterus and numbed breasts, there was no nursing.



The very things I had associated with womanhood-uterus, vagina, breasts--were all either damaged, ignored or numbed. For me, this first birth had occurred in a little girl's paper doll world.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My terrible secret

I want to talk a little bit out my "terrible secret". If you've read here for awhile then you probably already know a few things about me such as: I don't use artificial birth control (though you may not know we've made the decision to stop NFP, as well), I hated my cesarean, I adore the experience of giving birth. What you may not know, however, is that I'm absolutely, whole-heartedly, terrifyingly afraid of my next pregnancy. So scared, in fact, that last night I dreamed that I finally got my period back and woke up in a cold sweat, shaking, at the thought that now I was sure my fertility had returned.

So there it is. My secret. It's not that I don't like pregnancy. I do! I've never been a skinny girl, so when I get pregnant I sort of get it into my head that, "I'm not fat, I'm just pregnant!" I think pregnant bodies are amazingly beautiful and I love feeling beautiful. I love watching my belly grow. Feeling my babies move in my womb is one of the most treasured memories of my life. I feel so special and blessed when I'm pregnant. What an high honor to be chosen to help bring life into the world!

For me, though, there's a putridly dark side of pregnancy. My body hates pregnancy and babies and does everything it can to starve and kill my babies and me. I suffer from a traumatic pregnancy illness called hyperemesis gravidarum. I've had it will all of my pregnancies except the baby I miscarried, so that's three times I've survived.

It's a horrifying, soul-crushing illness. For me, having HG is exacerbated by hypersensitive senses; specifically taste, smell and touch. In my pregnant state, the world--everything--smells as if it's coated in a thick layer of vomit. My sense of smell is very sensitive when I'm not pregnant so when I become pregnant my husband calls me the "human bloodhound". When I move from one smell to another, I vomit. Leaving my bedroom and going into the hallway-I vomit. Going out the front door, I vomit. Getting into the truck, vomit. From the truck to outside the truck, vomit. It's really that bad.

Everything tastes horrible. The thought of eating food repulses me. I can't even stand to kiss my husband or children. I can't stand to put anything in my mouth. My HG world is also filthy. I feel like everything around me is covered in grime, dirt, sewage, etc. I can't touch anything.

Do you see how awful this is for me? HG is bad. So bad that sometimes women die from it. So bad that women will abort...abort!...wanted, prayed for, dreamed of babies because they feel like they're dying and no one will/can help them.

So the idea of going through this a fourth time gives me hives but... what if? What if I'm supposed to be learning and growing from these pregnancies? What if all the knowledge and strength gained from a mother-led, unmedicated birth is also available to me if I quit "numbing" my pregnancy with fear, doubt, lack of faith, hopelessness?

What can I learn about my Lord, my body, my husband, my children, my baby, myself... from an un-numbed HG pregnancy?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What happens when the child you're given isn't the child you expected?

Recently, sister H's daughter, baby C, was diagnosed with autism. She's just 19 months old, which is very young for a diagnosis and that's encouraging.

Most of the autistic children I've met have what they call a "regressive" form of the condition. Everything seems perfectly as it should be, with baby reaching milestones on or before "schedule", and then sometime between 15 months and two years the child begins losing previously mastered skills and milestones.

This is not baby C. For us, her family, it was very obvious almost from birth that something wasn't quite right. Sister H was blind to it, but my mother, other sisters and I could see. She never looked at you. It always seemed as though she lived in a different...world?...than the rest of us. She used her feet as most children would use their hands and could sit for hours opening and closing a drawer. She just began walking at 17 months and spins in circles frequently, and still isn't speaking beyond the babbling you hear in a 6-7 month old baby.

As I said, we could all see that baby C needed help, but we were afraid of insulting sister H. No matter how gently you suggest something like that, what most mothers would hear you say is, "your kid's messed up." Thankfully, sister A sees the same pediatrician as sister H, so she mentioned our concerns to the doctor, and the doctor (who also has an autistic child) brought up the subject with sister H at baby C's 18 month well-child visit.

The diagnosis hit sister H very hard. She became deflated, a shell of her normal self. It was so hard to watch. Surely she must have suspected something before, but to be confronted with it finally...

She's very sensitive in general, but even more so about baby C now. It's hard to talk to her about anything related to C's autism. There's so much I want to tell her. I want to tell her that we all love baby C to death, if not as much then even more than before. I want to tell her that every mother experiences the "death" of the baby she'd imagined. The baby birthed from a woman's womb is never the baby she conceived in her mind. For some of us, the differences are minor but for some they're dramatic. I want to tell her that baby C is precious in the eyes of the Lord and that she is "beautifully and wonderfully made," just as we all are. I want give her my whole body for support; arms to wrap around them both, shoulders to cry on, ears to listen, mouth to speak encouragement, eyes to view every victory and feet that are swift to run to her side.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MIA and Pictures

Sorry I've been absent so long. Having three children keeps my hands (happily) full! I plan to post at least once a week now though.

Anna will be 10 months old tomorrow! Where did my sweet, new baby go? She's so grown up now. Still no teeth, but Sarah didn't get teeth until she was a year old. She began crawling about 6 weeks ago (an army crawl on her belly) and has rapidly progressed to pulling herself to a sit, pulling up to stand and now cruising. Last night she finally got up on her hands and knees to crawl, but I don't think she'll be crawling much longer.

We were in Pensacola last weekend and visited Ft. Pickens several times. I wanted to share some of the pictures with you. It really is a beautiful park!










Anna standing on the boardwalk









I can't say the thought doesn't cross my mind...frequently!








This picture gives me chills.








An artsy photo of Sarah. She's looking across the intercoastal waterway at Fort Barrancas.








Caleb climbing on the same rocks I used to play on when I was a child. One of my fondest memories!










Sarah and Caleb examining something Sarah caught in her net. She's quite the "hunter"!










Anna nursing on the beach. Heaven on Earth: warm sun, salty sea and a baby at the breast.













My beautiful baby girl! She's watching Daddy, Sarah and Caleb catch sand crabs.













Sarah and Caleb exploring Fort Pickens.



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Response, or Why I Choose Vaginal Birth

I frequent a local mom's forum and was recently "called out" in a post by a cesarean-loving mother. In her post she said something like, "I don't care what people like vbacwarrior think. I've signed up for my repeat c-section and I don't feel guilty!" I feel so bad for her. She obviously does feel guilty or she wouldn't have felt the need for that qualifier. I worked very hard on a response-several days. I just poured my heart out to her, and I hope she feels my sincerity.



Since I’m in town for a bit and my “name” was mentioned, I thought I’d attempt a reply.

When I was planning my HBAC (home birth after cesarean) with baby #2 I was looking at songs for my birth video. Lately, some of the words of Jewel’s “Life Uncommon” have moved me

Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead a life uncommon
Let your words enslave no one and the heavens will hush themselves
To hear our voices ring out clear
With sounds of freedom


So, then, I’ve decided that instead of raging against my section I will revel in the excruciating beauty of my vaginal births. Please don’t take this to mean that I don’t love my cesarean-born daughter. The Bible says, “greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13 and when a mother consents to a section she truly, literally lays down her life. Cesareans aren’t 100% safe and the number of women dying from cesarean complications is on the rise. I took a Bradley Method class in preparation for an un-medicated hospital birth so when I consented to the section I was fully aware of the risks. I only say all of this because I have been accused here a number of times of not loving my daughter.

When I think of Caleb’s birth I think of hands and rocks. That’s what my birth attendants and family were. They were rocks to support me and hands to hold me. Though you could call Caleb’s birth a “failed homebirth attempt”, I don’t view it as such. I gave him a beautiful 40 hours of stress-free, peaceful, and intervention-free labor at home. Caleb and I walked together, rocked on the swing outside, and I prayed over him in the warmth of my birth tub. My doula encouraged me, my midwife watched over me, my husband supported me and my mother and all my sisters were witnesses to my hard, loving work. I even had sex!

Then there was Anna’s birth. I got to the hospital not knowing I was in labor, having just gone up to be “checked” because it was 3a.m. and my insomniac sister and I were awake and bored. Not only was I in labor, but I was about to give birth! I don’t even know how to describe Anna’s birth. I arrived at the hospital at 7cm and didn’t feel anything in the way of pain or intensity until 9cm. I had a birth ball put onto the bed and leaned and rocked over it until it got uncomfortable. Then I climbed up onto the bed and got on my hands and knees. It felt good and right. I felt led by…something. It was as if there was an instruction guide in my head and my body was following it and leading me along. The way my senses came alive, it was overwhelming! I could hear the tick, tick, ticking of the second hand on the clock behind me. I was intensely focused on the vein in my right hand pulsing with the same rhythm as my uterus. I cold smell the acrid, metallic bitterness of John’s glasses as he stood by (don’t touch me, just watch. Watch what’s going to happen!). I could feel Anna moving, turning, pushing her way out. She was ready, and I was ready, and it was as if she was saying to me, “quiet your mind and I’ll show you the way,” and I responded, “I’ll follow you”. My body and my mind were laid bare that morning; open wide and accepting of forces beyond their control. I wasn’t hooked up to machines. No one told me what to do or instructed me. Everyone in the room was simply a witness, as in a wedding ceremony. Do you, Becky Taylor, accept the solemn duty to birth and mother this baby, leading and following in turn, as necessary? I do…and then she was born, behind me. She was quiet for a moment and then she called out to me and I turned to face her for the first time. Those are the only moments from her conception that we’ve been emotionally separated; those few seconds before she breathed life.

As much as I adore, admire, respect and love my Sarah, my cesarean-born child, I cannot describe her birth the way I can Caleb’s and Anna’s, and that’s why I choose vaginal birth.




And P.S. I pooped. No one cared. When you’re witnessing such a painfully beautiful birth and exquisite baby girl, poop doesn’t even compare ;)
[In her post the mother had used not wanting to "poop" in labor as one of her most valid reasons for having a cesarean]

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I know what you did last summer

I know what you did last summer

I did something last summer.
Actually, I did it for the second time.
Most professionals think what I did is dangerous.
I was told I shouldn’t do it. Many institutions have banned it.
I meet women very often who have never even heard of what it is I did.
Sometimes women say they wish they could do what I did
but they aren’t allowed.
Or brave enough.
Or wide enough or thick enough.
Or, it’s just not convenient
enough.
Sometimes the very law itself doesn’t allow women to do what I did.
I’ve read of women being “hauled in”, against their will,
when they wanted to do what I did.
I had to cross state lines to do it. Some women have to travel much further.
There was a short period of time when it was popular
to do what I did.
It’s not popular anymore, but then I’ve never been a popular girl.
Five years ago I didn’t know I had it in me to do something so
outrageous.
You know my mother did it three times—
rebel.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My beautiful nursie baby


Just a simple picture to share. My older daughter took the picture.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Hard Question


I began questioning the so-called outrageousness of me having to travel to have my VBAC last night as I watched the Olympics. There was a male figure skater who was skating for Italy and the announcer said that he was actually French but the European Federation wouldn't allow him to skate for France. So, with lofty Olympic dreams in his head, this young man denounced his French citizenship and became at Italian citizen. You might say, "Wow! What an ambitious young man. Now that's a person who had a dream and wasn't afraid to sacrifice to follow it. Good for him. Bravo!" Indeed, the announcer's tone of voice seethed admiration for the young man's actions.

After the young man skated I recalled another skater in this year's Olympics, a woman, who gave up her Japanese citizenship to skate for Russia. She even changed the spelling of her last name. The reason given was that there was no couple's skating "legacy" in Japan.


With all this in mind, my hard question: Is it really so "outrageous" that I had to travel to another state to have a VBAC?

When I was going through the ordeal I thought it was ridiculous. Why should I have to inconvenience my family and myself just to give birth vaginally to my baby? Why should I have to travel so far away? Why wouldn't the doctors or midwives here just attend my baby's birth?

Yet, what would have happened to the young skater from France or the young skater from Japan had they had similar thoughts? Had they scoffed at the inconvenience their dreams produced, I wouldn't know who they are because they wouldn't be in the Olympics.

Every day people go through unimaginable circumstances and face such extreme obstacles to getting what their hearts desire. Think about people who travel to other states or countries for state-of-the-art medical treatments. Do they complain about the inconvenience?

So I'll repeat my hard question:


Is it really so "outrageous" that I had to travel to another
state to have a VBAC?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A new carrier

Since Caleb was a baby I've carried my babies in a ring sling. I loved my ring sling. It was easy to put on, easy to put baby in and easy to take baby out. After a recent trip to the chiropractor, my husband decided that it was wreaking havoc on my back. I'd heard many moms sing the praises of the Ergo baby carrier so I ordered one and... it came today! I hated it for about an hour but it's growing on me. I still stand my my assertion that it wasn't designed for shorter people though.

Anna Lily 7.5 months

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've wanted to write about this for several weeks now. Actually, about 10 weeks. One of my sisters is pregnant. . . again. She's my only sister (out of four) who has given birth without a cesarean. She's the sister who gave birth at 15 years old, at 38 weeks, to a still born baby boy. That was four years ago and I wrote about it here.

Now sister L is 19 years old. She's so excited to be pregnant. She found out last week that she's having another son (his name is Damien). But. . .but. Just before the became pregnant she was diagnosed with Grave's Disease. From what I've read, this doesn't have to interfere with the pregnancy in any way. Again, but. Her doctor also found that she has the MTHFR gene mutation. From pregnancy-info.net:


Because of a mother with MTHFR’s inability to efficiently metabolize folic acid and
vitamin B9, the disorder has been linked to a variety of pregnancy complications
such as chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and congenital
malformations.

Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with
placental disease, preeclampsia and recurrent pregnancy loss. 21%
of women with high levels of homocysteine experience recurrent pregnancy
loss.



She has already been "counseled" about her "options". No doubt, being 19 and facing the chance of a baby with Down's Syndrome, spina bifida or still born she was "counseled" to abort my sweet nephew. What kind of doctor tells a mother who has lost a child that she should kill her next child? No, this new little guy is one of the most fortunate babies on this earth. His mama is going to love him jealously and protect him fiercely.

We're all so worried for sister L though. She faces the very real chance of losing Damien. She lost Izaiah at 38 weeks, so it's a very long road ahead, littered with egg shells. None of us will breathe until Damien is safe in L's arms.


The part of L's story I struggle most with is her decision to schedule a c-section at 37 weeks. In my head I understand why she's made this choice. In her mind, if she'd had a c-section at 37 weeks with Izaiah, he would be a 4 year old little boy playing with worms and catching frogs, instead of a painful 4 year old memory. There are many things I want to tell her that I dare not. I want to tell her that he might not be ready to be born at 37 weeks and may suffer complications. Babies born too soon frequently die. He could have problems that plague him the rest of his life. What about L? She could lose her uterus (at 19!). She could suffer crippling adhesions. She could contract meningitis or MRSA. She could suffer from secondary infertility. She could die.


I worry so much for her. Helping her grieve the loss of another son would tear me apart. Hearing her speak flippantly about a section that was "great" would make me wince. Allowing her to share her tears over a section that was "awful, painful, why-didn't-you-tell-me-how-bad-it-was-going-to-be" would crush me.


There's just no right answer. Nothing right to say to her. My job until the end of July will be to listen to her, share her joy and pray with every ounce of faith that is in me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today is the Section Anniversary

When I talk about my cesarean do you hear that I'm judging you? What you should hear is that five years ago I had a surgical birth that I didn't want, wasn't prepared for, and still mourn. What I'm saying is that whether or not mine was necessary it left a scar that healed in the shape of a frown and a scar that is still open. If you really listened to me, you'd know that I don't believe all c-sections are unnecessary and evil but that there are a heck of a lot of them being performed that aren't necessary and those are evil. Birth in this country has become a high-stakes football game with women and babies acting as that old "pig skin". The fact is: cesareans aren't safe. Your skin and uterus are cut and they weren't meant to be. If I stretch a rubber band too tightly it will break because it wasn't made to stretch that far.

Five years ago I bled nails and hot tears
Now I bleed bitter sweetness and love
But it still hurts, and I still bleed

My first child, my sweet little girl, will forever share her spot in my mind with an awful memory. Maybe that's what hurts the most. It's not fair to her and it's not fair to me. So, each January 12 I smile and congratulate, give sweet hugs and pretty presents, and marvel as this little 3lb baby continues to grow and learn. But in the evening I close my door and I hurt. I hurt.

I know many of you will say that it shouldn't be so bad this year because I finally "got the birth I always wanted." I wanted that kind of birth for my babies! Not for me. Sarah didn't get that birth. I was able to give it to her two younger siblings, but not her. Not her. That's never going to change.

January 12, 2005
The day of my daughter's exit from my open womb.
My baby's birth.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weeping

There is a chance of snow here (in mid/south Georgia no less!) on Sarah's 5th birthday. The 5th anniversary of my section. Words almost fail me, as I feel I cannot describe what a beautiful gift that would be.

Snow, white, pure, fresh, forgiven snow.

Snow, frozen water, like tears. Beautiful frozen January tears. As if the Lord himself was weeping with me and quenching this still-burning ache in my heart.

Snow, clean and light, on the very day my heart feels the dirtiest and most burdened.

Snow... snow!