Friday, May 24, 2013

A fight to the finish

So here it is, we're in the final month of pregnancy.  Already.  I can't believe it!  I've got the cradle set up near my bed, the changing table in my room, newborn diapers just waiting to be opened.  His coming home layette is laid out ready to be packed in my hospital bag (which I will be packing once my bag has made it back upstairs from the laundry).  We're down to once a week visits with the OBGYN's office.  Everything still looks great.  It's a new office for me, this will be my fourth hospital in six births.  A very small, country hospital, but they have everything I need to birth comfortably.

Historically I've gone 2 weeks late with all of my babies.  The one and only exception to that is when I was induced and gave birth to my first-born son at 39 weeks due to pre-eclampsia.  Since then I've had 2 natural births at 32 weeks and 2 inductions at 32 weeks.  It seems to be the way my body works.  I've begun the battle of wills already at my Doctor's office.  They were asking me last week at 37 weeks if I wanted to schedule an induction or just wait and see what happens.  Seriously.  37 weeks and they're already talking induction.  This week, at 38 weeks I was told my blood pressure was "getting high", 100/80, another hint at induction right?  My girlfriend admitted to me today that the same office induced her for blood pressure of 100/90.  Seriously!!!  That's not even out of the normal range!  My blood pressure is good for a person who is not pregnant, let alone an overweight woman who is 38 weeks pregnant. 

Here's my hang up: I hate being a squeaky wheel.  I like being the person who comes in, labors under the radar, has the big moment upon birth, and then gets out of the hospital and back home as soon as possible.  My insurance mandates a 24 hour stay upon giving birth.  I try not to allow it to be beyond 24 hours and 10 minutes (and that includes my trip down the elevator to my car!)  I'm not now, or never have been a big hospital fan.  Especially when it comes to labor and delivery.  Hospitals are for sick people, for people in need of care for a problem within their bodies.  Labor and delivery is a normal process.  It is a natural function that most women can do unmedicated.  I'm not a superwoman by any means.  But I am a woman.  A woman who feels that she can manage the pain through the awesome support system of her husband (we use the Bradley Method of birthing).  It's not that I look down on women who like to be hospitalized for their labors.  I just don't feel, on average, that hospitals are necessary.  And to feel pressured, in anyway, to accept medicine that I know in the bottom of my soul is not necessary, makes me anxious.  Of course, I don't know that everything is going to go just fine.  I don't have a plan as to how exactly its going to go.  I just want my medical team to respect my decisions, my experience, and my feelings as a woman enough to not let me be just another "case of Pitocin" waiting to happen.  I don't want to be a number, I don't want to walk in without having a face.  I'd rather be ignored than put through the routine medicalized birth.  Stick me in a hallway somewhere, let me labor, and I'll call you when you need to come catch.  Don't explain to me why you're going to give me Pitocin and then not let me tell you why you're crazy.  Don't look at me with that patronizing sneer when I tell you that breastfeeding is a great way to release oxytocin.  That's like telling me that your aspartame is better than my cane sugar.  Not even close.  (Did I mention they are also telling me I have to receive a shot of Pitocin after I deliver to "make sure I don't bleed" too much.  I'm sorry, but this is my fourth hospital and I've never had that as "standard procedure".  And I'm not a bleeder sir.  Especially when you have trained staff to massage my fundus down and you let my baby latch on and feed uninterrupted.  There is no need for Pitocin if these steps are taken, because my body will ALREADY BE PRODUCING IT!)

I guess in this sense, I am a control freak.  Not because I have trust issues (I'm sorry, but even if that comes across as such, how would you feel working harder than you ever have in your life and having people pushing needles at you from all sides?  A little untrusting yourself I'm sure...)  More to the point: I know my body.  I've grown this baby within myself for the past nine months, so I'm the closest person on this earth to know his body as well.  I know that if I'm left alone I will be the first one to know if something real is actually going wrong.  Not only because I know my body, and I know my baby's body, but because I've labored and gone through this process 5 times before.  I need to be free to respond to my body during labor.  Unhindered by medical "professionals" who are more afraid of not getting me doped up on drugs, or of a potential lawsuit, than that I might actually do just fine without them.  I seem ungrateful.  I'm not.  I truly am not.  I understand the value of Nurses, Doctors, and Midwives at birth.  I understand their role.  What bothers me is that they're so over-inflated in their self importance that they've totally neglected MY role.  I want to be in charge, because at the end of the day, this is a paycheck to them.  This is the beginning of a whole new life for me.  And I know from experience that birth, whether positive or negative, directly affects how mother and child bond.  That time builds on a relationship that must last symbiotically for over a year from that day.  Nursing, developing both mother and child, going through major milestones.  An OB just wants to get you in and out of the hospital without any health (lawsuit) risks.  But they forsake and risk the greatest moments of a mother's life.  Allowing her, empowering her really, to have the birth she was created for.

Please pray for me, as I know this is going to be an uphill battle for me.  Pray that my husband and I are on the same page as we move forward, that he at least respects my point of view.  And that I'm able to get my point across to the OBGYN's office that I do not want medical intervention unless its necessary.  And that I will be the one to make that call.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

38 weeks and counting down!!!

I couldn't sleep last night.  Usually I find that the perfect time to get up an blog, but my mind was racing too much for me to write down a coherent thought.  Today I'm going in for my 38 week OBGYN appointment.  Everything has looked great thus far, my blood pressure has been lingering around 100/60, I've gained the bare minimum for weight (which considering I started out overweight I'm pleased by that), no swelling thus far, I feel great (although I'm tired easily these days:)

I should be looking forward to labor and delivery at this point, making those final countdown preparations like packing a hospital bag and preparing for the nursery.  We're making these preparations, but ever so slowly.  I usually go two weeks late so I'm really not in the hospital mode yet.  I'm one of those women who enjoy labor and delivery.  I delight in my body's strength and ability to bring children into the world.  I gain a sense of renewed confidence for every son and daughter I have brought into this world.  I enjoy working with my husband and my body to labor peacefully.

This time is a little different though.  Yes, my baby boy is completely healthy.  My body has adjusted well to this pregnancy.  But, there, ever present in the back of my mind is the loss of my other two babies from miscarriage in these past two years.  I'm more fearful at the end of this pregnancy, because of those losses.  I just don't know, and I can't rest secure that I will be fine in this labor and delivery.  The last two children that passed through me were dead.  Am I alone in these feelings?  How does a Mom work through them and have a positive experience?  I honor my children, both born and unable to be born, but how do I work through these fears in time to welcome my son?

Please pray for me as I wrestle with these memories in my mind.  Pray that I find peace and a renewed sense of what is to come.