Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why we chose to keep Gideon intact

Before we found out that we were having a boy, I hoped we wouldn't. At that time, I assumed that everyone circumcised their sons- that it was somehow mandatory.

After the ultrasound, when we knew we were going to be parents of a boy, I worried about circumcision. The thought of handing my baby over to someone and allowing them to cut off a part of him seemed SO WRONG. My momma bear instincts were kicking in already.

So, I started doing some research. Since becoming pregnant, it seems all I've done is research. I'm so thankful for the Internet and all the information it has lead me to.

Information wasn't hard to find. Planning a home birth and planning to cloth diaper led me to lots of natural parenting web sites. Mothering.com forums were my biggest help. The Case Against Circumcision forum has intelligent and well informed women (and a few men) who are committed to educating interested parents who come to the forum. There are hundreds of helpful threads with links to blogs, research and websites. This thread in particular that helped me make my decision.

It all came down to keeping our baby the way God made him. This picture is from the day after he was born. Every time I look at these early photos, I'm thankful again that we decided to keep him intact. He was perfect when he was born and he is still perfect.

I've included some other helpful websites in case anyone wants to do more research.

drmomma.org (just search for posts about circumcision)

Friday, June 25, 2010

How I feel about the birth

So, writing my birth story didn't take me so long because I've been busy with Gideon. Dave is such an amazing dad that I have plenty of time in the evenings and weekends when he's home. Really, the only thing Gideon needs me for in the evenings is for breastmilk because Dave does just as well calming him, changing his diapers, dressing him and playing with him.

The real reason is that it was hard. My labor and delivery were not the peaceful event that I hoped, planned and prayed to have. I barely told anyone the story for weeks because it was too emotional. As strange as it sounds to men and some women, it really does matter how a woman gives birth.

If it wasn't there wouldn't be groups like the International Cesarean Awareness Network or forums on Mothering.com about birth and how to get past it. I didn't need counseling to get over the birth- just time. I can finally think about it and even type up thoughts without crying.

Because my birth didn't go as planned, the doubts arose almost instantly. The what ifs started even before I pushed Gideon out. I wondered if the choices I'd made during pregnancy affected the birth. What if I'd made myself exercise more? What if I'd eaten better? What if I'd visualized more? And the choices I'd made during labor... what if instead of trying to rest, I had walked? What if I hadn't gotten in the pool so early? What if I'd spent more time on my feet? What if, what if, what if?

Every choice was questioned. I felt like I had failed. My body had not done what it needed to do. I felt guilty that I hadn't been able to provide a calm birth for my baby. I felt like a failure.

And then the worry began. What about when I have another baby? Will the same thing happen? Should I even try for a home or natural birth? What if I can't handle the real pain of labor? What if all the contractions I went through would simply be uncomfortable to someone else but to me they were painful?

I am so thankful that I have a healthy, beautiful, smart boy. I'm thankful recovery from labor and delivery was not difficult or excessively long. I'm okay with what happened for now. Nothing can change what has already happened. But, I am scared that all those feelings of doubt and worry will rise right back up when I get a positive pregnancy test (years from now).

And maybe I can't think too hard about it without getting emotional.

My Birth Story, Part 2

When we arrived at the hospital, we were shown to the tiniest room ever. Thankfully, when our nurse came in, she moved us to a room about three times the size with a large recliner, a couch and much more space to walk around. I changed into a hospital gown and sat on a labor ball. Dave and I had decided that I would get the epidural. I could not go on any longer without sleep.
Our nurse tried to move things along as quickly as possible. People came and went- they monitored Gideon while someone came in to take my blood, the doctor checked my progress and someone else hooked me up to IV fluids. I had to have an entire bag of fluids before I could get the epidural.

After almost two hours, the anesthesiologist arrived. He asked everyone to leave so there were no distractions. He explained everything he was doing and my nurse helped hold me steady (I was still shaking) while he inserted the catheter into my back. It was quick and mostly painless. He told me that they give a narcotic with the first dose of epidural so I'd feel very relaxed soon. He was right. It was almost immediate. Also, my water broke for real while I was getting the epidural.

After a few minutes, while I got situated in bed and they added antibiotics to my IV, I was finally able to sleep. I don't know how long I slept but it was SO wonderful. I woke up feeling normal- except I couldn't feel my legs. Nancy had to leave (she'd told me from the beginning that this was the only day she wouldn't be able to work) but Noel, the other midwife in the area, came soon after. Dave was very relieved to see me so much more relaxed. He told me later that he couldn't remember the last time I'd joked. It seemed like labor was going on forever.

I was checked again and I was only dilated to 4. They added pitocin to the mix in my IV and contractions picked up again. It was weird to not be able to walk around with them. I was able to drink clear fluids- juice, water and chicken broth and eat jello.

They upped the pitocin throughout the day and we all just kind of hung out. Gideon's heart rate was still good.

About 11 p.m., I started to feel like I needed to push. More nurses came in to set up the doctor's table. The epidural dosage was turned down and the pitocin turned up. Noel and Dave helped the nurses get me into comfortable positions for pushing. We tried several different things before settling with one that seemed to be doing the most. I pushed for 2 and 1/2 hours before Gideon finally arrived.

My nurses were wonderful but I really did not like my doctor. She was the one I saw once during my pregnancy and didn't like then. She was very rough, did not pay attention to our wishes and just didn't seem to care. Thankfully she wasn't there for long. I wish my birth had happened really fast so Noel could have caught Gideon.

Despite the doctor, it was so amazing to finally hold my baby. He was screaming and waving his arms as the doctor wiped him down a little. When he was put on my chest it seemed so unreal. The nurses covered us with towels and Gideon pooped almost right away. I just talked to him and he calmed down after a little bit and snuggled. After about an hour, the nurses took him to get him cleaned up. Dave went with him to make sure there were no shots or eye goop given. I was cleaned up as well. Even though the epidural had worn off by then, I was extremely shaky and it was hard to stand.

Here's one of our first photos together. Gideon's lungs were and are still very strong!