The Kids

The last months have been such a huge adjustment for us. I am finding my rhythm slowly, letting go of many expectations –especially of myself- and learning new depths of patience, love and surrender. It hasn’t been a totally graceful road, but I have learned so much already.

Two craft projects from First Art for Toddlers and Twos… love that book!

We’ve been having new adventures…just getting a two year old and two month old out the door in winter weather is quite a challenge! I’ve been really finding new depths of gratitude in my life –for my own mother especially, my sisters, my grandmother, husband, my father (aka “poppy”) and myself.

I’m now a big advocate of leashes for little ones…this little two thinks nothing of running into traffic, or large bodies of water, and I sometimes not fast enough while pregnant or with baby strapped to me in an ergo. I applaud those of you who can afford to be morally against them…you must have extra-long arms, mellow kids, very skillful parenting, or only one child, or more widely spaced children. Good on you, but this works for us and Sapphire actually loves her *puppy pack-pack*, thanks Cheryl and David J

This sweet guy has had a bit of a rough go. Between *colic*, reflux, and an episode of apnea where he stopped breathing and his whole face turned blue (followed by an overnight hospital stay that had no conclusive tests pointing to the cause), it’s been a bit intense for us. Despite this, he is full of smiles, gurgles and coos. At 7 weeks old, he was 13 lbs J And he sleeps very well at night with rare exceptions.

 

Her imagination is really taking off…this is her “car”

 

She is becoming so much more able each day to communicate what she wants and feels, including “NO!”

 

I have so much more to share but a baby is drooling all over my other hand.

More soon,

Laura

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Two

I had grand ideas of what I’d write today but two sick babies and some time overnight in the hospital this weekend has me exhausted but grateful. I hope to return to this space soon.

Peace,

Laura

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Birth story part 3

Nkjj

Breastfeeding with the shield, like a flexible silicone hollow nipple that fits over the mother’s own nipple with small holes for milk to come through.

The breastfeeding attempts continued, often with a new person with completely different opinions and information. One of the next attempted feedings my nurse brought me the top of a bottle because my daughter could not latch on. I felt dubious, but what did I know? Of course it didn’t work, and I was left feeling incredibly discouraged. My midwife suggested I immediately begin taking Fenugreek capsules and blessed thistle (increase milk production) and pumping every 2 hours to draw out my nipples and get whatever colostrum I could for Sapphire one way or another. By the end of the day a nurse who was also a lactation consultant had produced a nipple shield as I could not get Sapphire latched on in any other way. She nursed and the LC said she was sure she saw colostrum in the shield. I breathed a slight sigh of relief; at least my body was doing something right.

A few hours later, she had been hooked up to an iv for antibiotics and her hand was encased in a horrible plastic thing that she kept whacking herself in the head with. My instincts still said my baby was fine, but I was too tired and confused to argue. Because she was now considered “high risk” she was weighed even more than usual in the hospital and, of course, she was nearing that magic 10% mark for weight loss since birth. Nevermind that in a homebirth if she looked well she wouldn’t have been weighed for a few days anyway, nevermidn that she had no actual signs of infection, nevermind that IV fluids in the mother during labour are strongly linked to a higher initial weight loss…. No, my baby was “starving” and needed formula.

Haley cup feeding our little angel

I was utterly confused and distraught. It was evening, my first full day with my baby, and I had already been told 15 different things about her health and wellbeing. We stalled the nurse who was very hostile, and we suppose concerned. I did not want my baby to have formula. We called our midwife, I could tell without anything being said that she was now in a sticky situation…what she believed against hospital policies. She told me to relax as fully as possible, hold Sapphire and pump and hope I could get some colostrum to feed her. Nothing came out. I still feel she had nursed alright earlier, but as much as I tried to relax my body was extremely tense. In the end we were defeated, I was not really given a choice, if I chose to wait I’d be starving my child and *they* would not allow it. Because she had neared some magical percentage point it seemed they could feed her themselves. We opted to cup and finger feed her the formula. It took forever, much was thrown up, and I felt deep in my heart that I had failed. Every two hours or so my husband was up doing it again, I could still barely move from my bed. Everything I had wanted for my daughter, the gentle entry, skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, breastfeeding…it was all gone and I had nothing to give as a mother with stitches in her middle who could barely get up to pee let alone lift her own baby.

My doula and friends rallied together. Milk was pumped and brought in, and a friend who had a 2 month old came and nursed Sapphire several times the next day. The nurses were all very suspicious of this. After the first gift of real mama milk, she slept more soundly than she had since birth. She threw none of it up. I began to get more colostrum as I pumped, and we mixed it with the other milk and sometimes formula. Every feeding was recorded, every “cc” of formula or milk, whether she nursed at the breast or cup fed. Because of her weight loss this was kept up for at least a week and was utterly exhausting.

My placenta was broken out from pathology even though no one had told me whether it harbored infection or not, and prepared with love into placenta pills.

Food also began to filter in. Friends dropped off meals, roasted nuts, lasagna, salads, homemade cookies, waffles. I barely had to eat any hospital food and Haley was also well nourished. I was also suddenly starving and by sometime on the third day I felt wet and looked down to find my breasts leaking the long-sought liquid gold. It was still very difficult for Sapphire to nurse – more so now because she was flooded when she tried. I was emotional and crying at everything which I guess often happens when the milk first flows. Once again we made the decision to have me pump for the evening and feed her manually because I was so exhausted and stressed trying to get her to latch on.

The spinal tap had found that the first blood test on Sapphire was contaminated and she was not sick at all. The antibiotics were still continued for a while. And I was badgered continually to bathe Sapphire. No. she smelled in a way that made me feel peaceful, and she was clean and lovely. We coated her skin (dry in places supposedly from being overdue) in olive oil and ignored the nurses. Even after the spinal tap disproved the infection one nurse burst out “Your baby has been found to have an infection! You MUST bathe her! How irresponsible! It could have come from her skin!” I looked her in the eye and said “My baby is NOT infected and we will bather her when we’re ready.” She huffed away.

With that first flow of milk came the first bonding and love surges I really felt for my baby. This is why, despite our continued difficulties, I would not give up breastfeeding (though almost!). It was the only thing that gave me a small sense of those hormones I should have received at her birth that indelibly bonded me to her.

home

Eventually we were released from the hospital… the pediatrician seemed wary despite the newest test saying she was fine. He asked if we lived close by before he would agree to discharge us. We left with that shred of doom and uncertainty hanging over us. I was not to climb stairs or lift anything heavier than the baby for 6 weeks.

Our home had been cleaned by friends, the birth pool dismantled and drained, the fridge emptied of gross food, towels thrown in the laundry. You know who you are, and despite this being such an incredibly dark time, the cleaning the meals, the milk…were the most generous and truly supportive of my life.

We settled in, that first night I could not sleep a wink having Sapphire so close to me for the first time, every little grunt and gurgle startled me. Haley could not even be woken up after having done most of the care and feeding since her birth. Not even hitting, shaking or yelling roused him. In the early morning, I felt like a crazy caged beast and put my baby down in a car seat and called my midwife. I didn’t sleep, I felt insane, and Haley would not wake up. We made a plan, such a wonderful thing, first, I was to take a shower while baby slept and just let the tension wash away, then if Haley was still out cold, I would snuggle the baby in the rocker and just relax and doze, not even try to sleep, and if I had any problems I was to call back and make a new plan.

The story is very long, folks. I had to take more breaks from nursing because of the combination of pain from my nipples being drawn out, and the bad latch and friction from the shield. My daughter screamed like a terror each time we tried the bottle with pumped milk, and I thought many times of running away, getting away from the horrible sound and that they would be better off without me. Funny enough, my commitment to making milk for this child and not having her on formula kept me with her. We had baths together, we began the bouncing on the yoga ball to soothe her to sleep (a year later this still continued). She was a colicky baby who cried a lot, would not be put down alone, ever more. Perhaps her experience in early life caused this, I feel in my heart it was a contributing factor. I was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the flashbacks and nightmares I was having of her birth; I don’t doubt that she was similarly affected yet without the adult capacity to make sense of why she was ripped from my body, poked and prodded, given disgusting things to eat, and why mommy seemed so distant and panicked. By the end of the first week I was given a very limited prescription for Ativan because I was not sleeping. When the Ativan was done I moved on to melatonin, it took a very long time for me to no longer feel like and animal being hunted, or to be sure that my baby was about to die.

By the 5th week between visits from my mother in law and a visit from my own mother, I had developed the first of the 7 bouts of mastitis to come. My bleeding had almost petered out at 4.5 weeks but came back full force and very red at the same time. My fever spiked and my breast was red, engorged, hot and painful. I took antibiotics again. I have such strong suspicion that the reflux sapphire suffered was strongly linked to the two exposures to antibiotics in her early life. If you are prone to breast infections, please, please look into homeopathics (Phytolacca is excellent) –if taken at the first sign, they often prevent a full blown problem.

After the antibiotics we developed thrush. Nursing was suddenly agonizing. Gentian violet stained all my bras purple. Nothing helped until my homeopath hit on the right remedy.

Despite everything, we had moments of joy, amazement, first smiles. Sapphire gained a great deal of weight by the end of her first week and was a regular little pudgemunch by the time our 6 week appointment came along.

We got through, with many, many hiccups along the way. Homeopathy helped greatly in dealing with the trauma, along with craniosacral therapy for Sapphire, and some EMDR therapy for me for the flashbacks. It was difficult to tell my story to most people…most just wanted to brush it aside and say “oh well, you have a healthy baby.” A woman with post-traumatic stress and who is indeed still living in hell with a reflux baby who barely sleeps and seems to hate being a baby, is not ungrateful for her child’s life. But she has been through battle, she wants to be seen and heard, not brushed aside. THAT is what helps her heal and become an even more present mother. Let us learn to hold the pain of mamas in love.

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Birth story part 2

This next part may be very hard to read. Please be forewarned, relatives and former caregivers may not want to…

When we phoned my care provider, there was a major miscommunication…apparently she thought she had explained that she could not attend a homebirth at this point. As far as I know, I could have refused to transfer to the hospital…nothing was wrong…but at that point I had already avoided induction and I did not want an uneasy care person in my midst and in my home. Despite the accusation that we had somehow deceived our doula because we were “told we couldn’t have a homebirth”, I chose to go. We took our time packing…throwing in hypnobabies and a salt crystal lamp…items which made the hospital room into a womb-like cave that had everyone relaxed and sleepy. I nearly threw up on the 5 minute ride to the hospital. I no longer felt very trusting of the tone and minced words of our care provider, but I had my husband and my doula there with me and labour went on. I am so grateful to my doula for negotiating not to have continuous fetal monitoring while still on the phone with the midwife. Policies and rules could be bent if I would agree not to put her in an admittedly sticky political situation by refusing to transfer.

We arrived and went right to our room fairly seamlessly. I was checked and was 3 cm but having very regular strong roaring contractions. Sapphire’s heart rate was pretty steady with regular Doppler checks. All was well, and I cared little where I was anyway. I alternated between leaning over the birth ball, hanging off Haley, the bed, being in the shower and sitting on the toilet.

Due to many strange turns of events I no longer have any photos of my labour. Between people moving, and computers crashing and a privacy crisis on Facebook there are all gone, and were blurry from the cave like lighting anyway. I think this is a sign from the universe to let it go…not all the photos are fun for me to see so perhaps I can gradually let the sharp edges fade.

We overheard our care provider, in such a different voice than we had known through our prenatal care, telling the nurses that “The baby’s heart rate was fine –for now, and she hoped it would stay that way.” The tone of it was not confident, and it shook our faith a bit further. Amazing how little nuances can be so pivotal in labour…

Here I’d like to note that during my whole pregnancy I did everything “right” as my husband would say…or closer to what many people would term perfect than the majority of women. I ate all organic healthy food with the occasional ice cream thrown in, I did prenatal yoga, I walked, I did hypnobabies, I took time off work early when the stress proved to be too much, I had regular chiropractic care, acupuncture, saw a naturopath, and watched birth videos. I refused tests I felt to be high risk. I spent the last weeks of my pregnancy mostly on hands and knees because Sapphire kept flipping posterior. My bum was propped up with a cushion in the car to prevent the same thing, and I often leaned over a ball or sat backwards on chairs while using the computer or watching tv. I never reclined past about 4 months pregnant. The odds were in my favour…but…somehow I was very afraid. I had seen a friend’s birth and been quite traumatized by what happened, my own birth had been fairly traumatic and a C-section. I wondered if my body could really do this? I had a long long history of agonizing periods and I doubting the function of my uterus. But I soldiered boldly on, preparing for a home waterbirth.

There are many layers to why our births happen as they do…some people say women birth as they live, and for me that was true. I was, admittedly, in a predominant state of fear (I guess many first time mothers are) in my life at that time, and I had a fearful sort of birth. Some say our babies know all the possible outcomes for their lives and their births…the highest loving outcome, and the most fearful and dire, and decide that all will serve them in this life…I’m sure they hope for the loving birth of gentleness for the most part, but they accept all possibilities, and often have a hand in difficulties that arise. Birth is one of the few mysteries left, really. I was told Sapphire is a warrior, that she would challenge me. This has been true, she has been a trooper.

I labored to about 5 or 6 cm’s when suddenly the intensity changed into agony…she had flipped posterior, despite me leaning forward the entire time. I don’t know why…with more distance from it all, I was told by an osteopath and several others that babies often need to turn in funny ways to release themselves from hindrances we may never know of. Or maybe she had had enough…we were both tired. Or maybe there was a restriction in my body or muscles and that was the end… most likely it was a combination of things…I think with quite a lot of certainty that had I been less tired at that point I may have had a fair chance to have her vaginally. My resolve fizzled…I knew I couldn’t fight anymore; the pain didn’t subside in between contractions. I consented to gas and air which made me dizzy until an epidural could be arranged. I knew despite the small chance the epidural would allow rest and she may yet turn, that I was heading for a C-section.

The whole atmosphere changed, nurses bustled in and out, many were very rude especially to my husband, bright lights were switched on, I was constantly checked to see if I had a fever, if the anesthetic was creeping too high up my body (with ice packs). I felt very alone, I did not sleep or get much rest with all the bustling and I felt very keenly that the staff wanted me to hurry up and be sectioned. Still, each intervention was discussed thoroughly…it was informed consent every step of the way, and I was grateful for all my reading and research. But still I felt helpless…of course my labour slowed, I needed Pitocin, then sapphire’s heart rate became difficult to monitor with the EFM, a scalp probe was proposed…I was flipped from side to side as I could not move my legs whatsoever.

The obstetrician showed up, felt inside me, tried to turn sapphire’s head manually and couldn’t. I had dilated a bit more…close to eight cm’s and then my cervix began to swell on one side. Some meconium and a strange odor were detected when the obstetrician examined me. I knew Sapphire was ok, but she was “overdue” and very tired and so was I. There was really nothing left to do but a C-section. I had no strength, and nothing was changing favorably. Calmly we discussed it like doomed people, shooing the OB away when he came in in 2 minutes instead of the 5 I’d asked for. He scoffed and looked at his watched as he exited again. “Haley, you will go with her and not let her from your site and wear her skin to skin, and I want my placenta.” It didn’t occur to me to fight for anything else, that maybe, just maybe I could stand up against the policy of separating mom and baby…especially when I had a doula, midwife and husband to monitor me and the baby. This is my next biggest regret; for that separation was the beginning of the truest trauma I suffered as a mother.

Before the operation began my second midwife (shift change) whispered in my ear words I am very grateful for “Go inside, Laura, and connect with your baby, there is lots going on, go inside and be with your baby for their birth.” This was the little solace I had during that horrible event.

Just as my daughter was pulled from me, they began to ask me if I’d had painful periods, trouble getting pregnant. I was completely distracted…yes to the painful periods, why? Well, I was full of scar tissue and there was a chocolate cyst on one ovary. I had endometriosis…They would remove the tissue for me. Not, would I like them to? But they would, right when I just had my first baby. It was too much and I began to vomit violently, nearly in my midwife’s lap. That overwhelm is fused to the memory of my daughter’s birth. I wish they hadn’t, frankly. I never agreed to it. And endometriosis usually grows back after surgery; alternative means like Chinese medicine seem to be more effective. I wish this had been a discussion for later…

It wasn’t until I saw an episode of babystory where a woman in the US had a planned C-section due to a baby with hydrocephalus (swelling of the head from fluid, can often be fatal or very severe, requiring quick surgery) and *she* was not separated from her baby until several hours later for her first surgery. It occurred to me that both I and Sapphire were stable, how ridiculous for me to be away from her for hours. It pains me to say this, but by the time I saw Sapphire again, I didn’t know her. I couldn’t connect her with the baby that had been inside me. I was in shock and my arms felt too limp to hold her, I begged them to take her away from me before I dropped her. I couldn’t stop thinking of when I would be able to feel my legs again….it was a horrible claustrophobic feeling…I asked every nurse, my doula, and midwives WHEN would I be able to feel my legs. No one knew, it depended…maybe in an hour, maybe by morning…I watched the clock tick wishing I would regain sensation. I think it would have been prudent to have given me something for anxiety then…but I’m sure no one knew just how distressed I was or they were concerned my bonding would be further interrupted by medication.

Hours later, a nurse came in to check on me. I hadn’t slept. I was shell-shocked, and beyond tired. She gave me morphine. I still did not sleep. I think I was given Ativan, I listened to some calm music and Haley did Reiki on me and I slept a few hours before my child awoke. After the c section, it took me more than 8 months to sleep well and consistently without medication or melatonin. It was like my nervous system was on high alert continually. Everything hurt, and I couldn’t eat until I’d passed gas so they knew my digestive system was intact. A nurse forced me to get up and walk and it took a very long time. You don’t know what abdominal muscles do until you cannot use them. I had to use the washroom with a nurse standing and watching me, she changed my pad, just as had been done for me right after the operation. Nothing was sacred anymore…I had been worried about being naked in labour; no everyone had seen and heard it all. It was humiliating. Nurses were in an out for days asking if I had passed stool, inserting suppositories into me in front of my husband, with the door often open. I couldn’t laugh or sneeze or cough without my incision searing. I didn’t feel like I’d had a baby, though I knew in my head she was mine.

We tried to latch Sapphire on, and realized just how flat my nipples were and she wasn’t exactly cooperative. No one had much experience with flat nipples and just suggested trying again later; she would be ok a bit longer.

Then I was told that my baby had a serious blood infection, they needed to treat her with heavy duty antibiotics, and confirm the blood test with a spinal tap. Something about dying or death was mentioned or implied. I had no fight left in me. In retrospect I think they could have repeated the blood test to be sure, but I was not prepared for these kinds of newborn decisions. I was not allowed to come, I sent Haley to go with her. I thought I was ok, I got up to shower. Then I began to feel dizzy, to see black spots, and to feel like I couldn’t breathe. I sat on my bed, all alone, gasping, crying, and soon screaming for help. Everything was coming crashing down…I think it was a very very severe panic attack…my first ever. Nurses asked if I was alright…someone disappeared and reappeared a while later having gotten permission from my midwife or a doctor to give me Ativan. The same nurse began to do some kind of mysterious acupressure on my legs which helped, and very calmly and strongly told me to look at her. Eventually, I could see, but I know I was about to pass out. That was the worst moment of my entire life. Almost subconsciously, I was sure my baby was dying. And I was alone. And confused, and everything was catching up with me.

This is, unfortunately, not the happy photo it might seem to be:

Sapphire and I, about 1 day old.

To be continued…

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Sapphire’s birth story part one

This is bound to be long…if you get through the whole thing, I commend you, but I cannot hold the story inside anymore. I also know it could offer a crucial piece of information to someone that may prevent the same from happening to them. I am not looking for sympathy or anything to be reassured or smoothed over…that is actually more hurtful. I want to be heard and to express the way I see what happened.

About 39-40 weeks pregnant.

I want to start by saying I have no wish to defame any people involved in my pregnancies or birth, therefore I will leave out names and many details that only a privileged few know. Despite the fact that some professionals did act in ways I found uncharacteristic, fearful, uninformed, betraying or manipulative…I can understand what may have driven that behavior and can even empathize with it somewhat. In some ways their behavior helps me because I can more easily see that our birth story is just that –ours. Was there interference –yes I feel so- but, ultimately we were responsible to navigate the hand we were dealt. In fact, I think many women are suffering from an illusion of hero worship of their doctor/doula/midwife especially because they either had a very joyous experience or because it was traumatic and they believe themselves/their baby to have been “saved” by these individuals (even when these very individuals may have interfered and often caused the initial problem, or there was no problem, it was just framed that way to speed things up or for other dubious reasons).

In my doula training I remember coming across the idea that it was a bad sign to hear “We couldn’t have done it without you.” Much as it gives a doula an ego boost; it shows the parent was not feeling empowered and gave credit for their birth outcome to someone external. Support people are very important, as well as primary care providers, and they do greatly influence outcomes (positively and negatively), however the more empowered and responsible a woman/couple are for their own pregnancy and birth, the less these support people/caregivers should be shouldering responsibility and the more they move into the role of a consultant.

The story begins:

About three weeks before Sapphire was born pressures mounted. We already had to deal with turning her from Breech (yay for hypnobabies) between 34 and 36 weeks, now 2/3 of my midwives were going on a trip on my due date, and there was an obstetrician shortage going on meaning if I went into labour half the days of the week, I’d need to travel 1.5 hours north to the hospital in order that my midwives could attend me with appropriate back up. Midwives were new in our conservative community after years without them, the previous ones seeming to have burned out for both personal and political reasons.

Before I even hit my due date (which was actually one week before the software I used to chart my cycle for two years stated it should be) the hospital and midwives’ clinic (this was partly a mix up I think due to new staff) were calling me repeatedly to schedule my biophysical profiling (ultrasound and basically monitoring baby’s heartbeat over time). In one day the hospital called me 12 times and got very annoyed, even though I hadn’t even been home to answer the phone. Relatives also called frequently “Oh just to see how you are” (FYI this is incredibly obnoxious). I felt like a watched pot…and I knew from my own reading that first time moms tend to be overdue, and no one really knew what happened if I reached that magic 42 week mark… “Obstetrician consult” was all I really knew, which pretty much meant my fate was sealed. I was strongly encouraged to do “stretch and sweeps” (internal separation of membranes to try to encourage cervical ripening?) and decided to do them because I was terrified.

As I neared the one week overdue mark…I began to do other things…

-acupuncture for induction (twice)

-reflexology for induction

-pumping/nipple stimulation

-stretch and sweeps

-homeopathics

-verbena oil “cocktail”

-hypnobabies

It’s not that these methods are inherently unsafe. But neither is it true that “natural” is equal to “harmless.” I was told by many well-meaning practitioners over and over again that “If your body isn’t ready, these methods won’t work/do anything significant.” That was not my experience, and many women have told me their own stories of using only one of these methods to “help things along” and having longer more dysfunctional labours. Basically, “why push the river, it flows by itself.”? There is a time for these measures, along with medical induction, but it is far less often than we think.

After my first acupuncture treatment for induction, my stomach was rock-hard for 20 hours straight. That should have been a hint. But no one confirmed my jittery first-time mom instincts to STOP and WAIT. No one said “It’s ok to wait, you can trust your baby/body, there is nothing wrong, there is no reason to panic.” So I continued. And in the end had 4 days of prodromal labour where I was nearly in active labour 3 separate times, but it petered out into every 15 minutes to ½ hour contractions. This type of labour effectively prevented sleep. Even the glass of wine and gravol I was recommended to help me rest did little.

40-41 weeks pregnant

I stayed on this precipice of labour (which kicked up a notch after each “natural” intervention) for days, until I was urged to have a biophysical profile (cancelled twice as I thought I was in labour) so “we can help you better.” Be very aware mamas, do your research on this method before you say yes, there are alternatives such as checking baby’s heart rate frequently and doing kick counts… the true risk of baby dying doesn’t really go up much until past 43 weeks. Be aware as well that it is very difficult for technicians to accurately guess fluid levels around a full-term baby. There can be pockets behind baby etc. that are impossible to see. I was kept on the electronic fetal monitor for hours upon hours, flat on my back (I believe an hour is more average), and the ultrasound technician said he had never done a scan on a woman past 38 weeks. (in large part because of the high early induction rate in my community) Not surprisingly, there were a few “slight decelerations” in Sapphire’s heart rate…very slight, and possibly from me being flat on my back so long. And I was found to have “low fluid” which I believe was actually untrue when I was later opened up for a C-section. Even if you truly have low fluid, often drinking a great deal before the test will change the result.

belly casting around 38 weeks

There was a great deal of fear permeating all the staff I interacted with and my caregiver –now in a hospital setting which was hostile towards her- recommended I stay and be induced. Every instinct in me screamed “NO!” I knew my baby was ok, there was little true evidence to the contrary, and I was still having many strong contractions (nurses were surprised and commented on this to me given that I was not in active labour). I did the one thing I am most proud of in this story of my daughter’s birth and said no. I earned the rebel code of “AMA” (against medical advice) on my chart and declared I was going home then and there for four hours and I would be going into active labour and either way would call my care provider in that time and reevaluate.

By the time I crossed the threshold of my apartment less than 15 minutes later the contractions were already coming much stronger and closer together. My doula was called, birth pool was filled. They were very intense for me, despite the fact that I was only dilating to about 3 cm’s. I think my exhaustion contributed to the feeling of intensity. I also think I went into labour in large part because I decided to. I stopped waiting for someone to make me feel safe, and, faced with an induction I made a choice to cross the threshold. I also called in the support of a friend and her husband, an African drummer, to bring some drums and beat out the rhythm they swore had put other women into labour before me. My caregivers were astonished and mystified that I went into labour after so long from drumming, but it worked.

To be continued…

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A quick snippet

http://hackneydoula.co.uk/?p=492

about the safety of birthplace (home/hospital/birth centre) this is referencing a study done in the UK and explains the stats nicely

and a quote from the following link based on a 10 year study in my home province:

http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2011/11/05/a-10%E2%80%90year-population%E2%80%90based-study-of-uterine-rupture-shows-risks-of-vbac-to-mom-and-baby-are-low/

“Out of 114,933 deliveries, there were 39 total ruptures (.o34%), with 36 of them having a previous cesarean. Complete ruptures counted for 18 of those (.016% chance of complete uterine rupture). No mother deaths.

2 infant deaths (2 0f 114,933 deliveries is a 0.0017%). One of the deaths the mother had a previous cesarean, one had no previous cesarean”

I feel strongly women should have the correct information about homebirth and VBAC. It astounds me how many people are misinformed and go around toting that misinformation. From the first link, you may notice that women in hospital had nearly 30% higher intervention rate than homebirth group…this was factoring in low-risk, healthy women only in both groups…and the outcomes of safety were the same in all groups…what does that say about unnecessary interventions? They are not without risk to mom or baby, often long-term risks. We seldom hear about the deaths and disabilities caused by these interventions. I could so easily link so much more research, but I’ll leave you to decide for yourself. A woman should be where she feels safest first and foremost, supported by loving care. Women need to take back their bodies and births, do research, listen to all sides and make an informed choice based on their own situation. It is not wrong to choose a hospital, but for many women it is not the safest choice. Birth is always risky, but remember if you are a vbac mom, especially if you are NOT induced, your risk of rupture is far lower than many other complications such as cord prolapse. What is going in in obstetrics right now around VBACs is nothing more than hysteria. If you are within 20 minutes of a hospital and call ahead, you will likely arrive in time for an emergency in the same amount of time it would take them to wheel you to the operating room within the hospital.

For more information, contact your local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network)

And any flaming or derogatory comments will be promptly deleted. This is a positive space for vbac’ers, homebirthers, and women who make any informed choice –even hospital. We all deserve respect and choices!

~Laura

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pondering

This will probably sound whiny…but really…I didn’t want to leave whoever is reading hanging too long. More than anything I’m tired –in every sense of the word.

I was recently sent some very rude and threatening emails by a reader and I have really been struggling with how to continue publishing personal, meaningful and honest stuff here…and I think I will be scarce until the baby is born in this space. Check back again.

~Laura

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