Friday, February 26, 2010

Belly picture! I'm huge, I know!

36 weeks walking along the Snake River. I just realized that I hadn't posted a picture in awhile. I think I've grown even more in the past week so I'll try to remember to post my 37 week picture after we take it. Also, my stomach was attacked by several angry cats- my stretch marks are super impressive. I'm thinking I might actually post a picture of them.

Some new pregnancy symptoms/ side effects: Braxton Hicks contractions every day and carpal tunnel. I'm pretty sure my right hand middle finger has been numb for more than a week now. I feel like I'm going to drop things and like I have no strength in my hands. Super fun. BH contractions aren't bad so far. A little painful if I'm in the wrong position but otherwise I'm sure they are nothing compared to what the real ones will be like.

Our big appointment is tomorrow! Both midwives will be coming to our house (which we really need to clean, by the way) and going over the birth supplies and answering any questions we have about the labor and delivery.

We are having some issues with our kitchen faucet and we're not sure how we're going to attach the hose to it. The little aerator thing won't unscrew. And, of course, we don't have any pliers so we have to go buy some tonight and hope the thing will come off. Otherwise, we're not really sure how to go about filling up the tub! I suppose we could do without, but I was really looking forward to laboring in the water.

I organized baby clothes the other night. It's nice to finally have that done! Now, I just need to tackle the diapers... I ordered a few more things this week. I just love these diapers with the brightly colored snaps. This is one I bought last night.

Well, that's about it for today. My numb fingers and I are going to find something else to do.

A rant about medicalized birth

I know people are going to get sick of this type of post, but really, I have to vent about the ridiculous things that women put up with in the field of obstetrics.

I frequent a few discussion boards about pregnancy and parenting- I've gotten lots of good information from some and others just give me a headache and make me mad.

I just read a post by a women who is 37 weeks pregnant. She posted that at her last appointment, her doctor was doing the internal check. The woman wrote, "She was digging around in there and goes, 'I'm stripping your membranes.'" The woman, whose husband is out of town for several days, understandably was upset. The doctor then told her that it wouldn't send her into labor, just "help her dilate more." Umm, hello, dilating is part of labor- not active labor, but it's still labor.

Several women replied with things like, "Oh yeah, my doctor did this too. I wasn't too happy because it hurt but then I went into labor a couple days later so I didn't care." None of them seemed to think it was too much of a problem.

I would be seeing red if my doctor/ midwife did this. I would be reporting them to every agency I could think of and would even consider filing an assault charge- because that's exactly what it is. Yet, most women don't do any of these things. Why? Because apparently it's the norm in the United States to give up all rights to your own body during pregnancy. Plenty of women consent to this procedure- and it is up to them- but to not even have the chance to consent or decline??? It's wrong on so many levels.

I will be declining all internals, though I would trust my midwife to never do something like that without my permission. It's bad enough to get a pap smear once a year, why would I agree to having something similar at every appointment for weeks until I delivered?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why is my belly considered public property?

While at my baby shower this past weekend, we talked a little about the joys of pregnancy. One of those was the touching. You know, when someone thinks that because your belly is sticking a foot out in front of you that it isn't actually part of a person so they think they can touch it as they walk past? Thankfully, this hasn't happened to me in the store with complete strangers yet (I think because it's cold so I usually have a coat and scarf on- harder to see the stomach! Or maybe I give off a don't-touch-me-if-you-want-to-keep-your-hand vibe.)

Since I've been pretty vocal about not liking the touchy-feely stuff, most friends and acquaintances have kept their hands to themselves. The few people who have touched my stomach haven't bothered me.

But, when I first announced my pregnancy at work, coworkers started telling me this touching was inevitable. I said I would start slapping hands and that Dave is very protective of me and more than likely, the random person in the store would not get close enough to touch my stomach before he stopped them. Anyway, one of my coworkers said that she was going to touch my stomach one day when I was least expecting it.

Hmm, now think of it this way: If I was not pregnant and simply told a coworker that I was uncomfortable with people touching me, would it be appropriate for them to say they planned on touching me when I least expected it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It would warrant an HR meeting and very strongly worded warning. And, if they did touch me, I would have every right to charge them with harassment. Yet, because I'm pregnant, it's OK?

She did manage to get in a belly touch one day while I was refilling my water at the cooler. I was not in a good mood that day and gave her a very dirty look. She hasn't attempted another touch since then. I think if she did, I would tell her I was going to file a complaint if she tried again.

I don't understand what makes people think that pregnant bellies are public property? It makes me want to be pregnant during the summer when it would be more obvious and see how many people I would have to slap.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On having a midwife

I started looking for midwives in the area as soon as we found out we were pregnant. I'd decided I wanted a natural birth and the best way to do that was to have a midwife. I assumed I would hire one who would be with me at the hospital. Well, lo and behold, midwives in Idaho aren't given hospital privileges.

So, I found two midwives who both practiced about 40 minutes away. I looked at their web sites and realized that in order to have a midwife, I was going to have to birth at home. I'd already looked into the possibility so decided to book some appointments with the midwives to decide who I wanted as my primary. They usually assist each other during births as long as one of their own clients doesn't need them.

After I decided on a midwife, we scheduled prenatal appointments. Because Nancy had three clients in Lewiston, she scheduled all of us for the same day, around the same times. So, all my appointments have been done at my house on Tuesdays during my lunch hour. Which means I've missed very little work because of the pregnancy and I don't have to travel very far!

The appointments last about an hour and include blood pressure and pulse checks, urinalysis, listening to the baby, feeling baby's position, measuring my uterus, checking for swelling, going over dietary needs and then talking about any concerns or questions I have.

I had one obstetrician appointment this pregnancy. Nancy requires that her clients meet with an OB in their area in case they have to transfer care. That one appointment was THE MOST stressful doctor's appointment I think I've ever had. Even Dave felt stressed and pressured and she wasn't even talking to him! The doctor pushed the HIV test even after I had told her twice that we didn't need one. She told me that there were some people in Texas who had contracted HIV from their dentist... (if I could do an eye roll emoticon right here, I would.) Her eyes practically shot out of her head when I said I didn't want an internal exam.

I know there are people who have natural hospital births with an OB. But they are never guaranteed. And I didn't want to have to fight at every.single.appointment for a natural experience. Doctors don't like it when you decline internal checks (internals increase the risk of infection and can cause premature rupture of the water bag, also, they don't actually tell you anything about the progress since things can change SO quickly in real labor), decline the gestational diabetes test (that sugary drink cannot be good for mom or baby, there are other signs that can warn of GD), decline using a doppler at every appointment or getting more than one ultrasound (ultrasound waves have NOT been proven safe for use during pregnancy), etc. Decling all these things has to make the doctor feel like they aren't "managing" the pregnancy. Which is exactly what I didn't want a doctor doing!

I didn't want to have to fight over every aspect of my birth plan- no constant fetal monitoring, the ability to walk and move during labor, no pain medications offered, being able to eat and drink as I wanted, having the lights dimmed, having as few people as possible come into my room, not having internal checks, etc. And, then, after fighting over all that in the office before birth, having to fight with every single nurse who came in thinking she/ he could examine me whenever they wanted and fight with whatever on call doctor I end up with about not breaking my water, not doing internals, not having monitoring, being able to birth standing up, etc.

It was wonderful when I asked Nancy, "How often do you do internal checks?" and she responded, "I prefer not to do them and won't during labor unless you request one." When I decline a procedure or test, she says okay and moves on. It's wonderful when I can tell her that I looked into the eye ointment or Vitamin K or circumcision and decided against it. She doesn't try to scare me into having these things done. She doesn't try to push anything.

She's only been adamant about one thing. She said she will not waiver on this one point except in the case of an emergency. She requires that the mom hold the baby skin to skin for the first two hours after birth. :) Which I am completely okay with! This is wonderful bonding time and encourages breastfeeding, it also ensures that baby's body temperature regulates (did you know that a mother's body temperature changes to accomodate her baby's? i.e. if baby has a fever, mom's body temperature will cool down and if baby is cold, mom's body temperature will go up). Those hospital incubators can't do that!

Midwives give the birth experience back to the mother and families. Nancy will be there to assist and help in case she is needed. More than likely, Dave will be the one to pull our little boy out of the water and hand him to me. More than likely, he'll be the one cutting the umbilical cord (after the cord has stopped pulsing- another decision we would have to fight for in the hospital.) I will be able to give birth where I feel most comfortable- no one will be telling me that I need to lie down and put my legs in stirrups (which, according to studies, -and common sense- is the WORST way to give birth.)

During the birth Nancy will check my blood pressure, pulse and listen for baby's heartbeat intermittently. She'll make sure I get plenty of fluids and food to keep my strength up. She'll do a newborn exam and make sure I don't bleed too much. She'll make sure the placenta comes out in one piece and is healthy. She'll stay for at least three hours after the birth to make sure breastfeeding is established, things are cleaned up and that mom and baby are still doing well. In the six weeks following the birth, she'll come for at least four checkups to make sure things are still going well. She's a lactation consultant so she'll be able to help with any breastfeeding issues we have.

Needless to say after this massively long post, Dave and I are very happy we've chosen a midwife.