Why I’ve Distanced Myself from NCB’ers

NCB’ers (otherwise known as those in the natural childbirth movement) stand up for many things – none of which they are shy to share. Back when I was pregnant, I knew I didn’t really fall into a category, but if you had asked me then I was aimed for what I believed was a natural birth. I didn’t want an epidural, Pitocin, or any “drugs”. I was going to use the heck out of that jetted tub. I was seeing a midwife – but little did I know that my CNM would be seen as a “medwife” – not someone with my best interests.

I struggled in labor, and things did not go as I had planned. After hours and hours of stalling at a 9, I think everyone in the room knew that something had to be done because this was spiraling backwards – not moving forwards. An epidural and a low dose Pit drip was administered, and I spent about an hour and a half wide awake before it was time to push – finally out of misery and knowing so well that my baby was on his way. Bonding? It was excellent. I spent the whole night staring at him, studying him – the perfect little baby that was so unbelievably cute and that no one could take from me for a second – except when I wanted a shower, which took me about three minutes… a personal record. I went home with nothing but a raving review of my midwife and the immense pride I felt for the amazing birth I had – no matter how long, miserable, horrible it was – and for my perfect son.

My love for this perfect birth led to reading. I began to toy with the idea of becoming a CNM myself. I studied, I read, I researched. I accidentally stumbled onto a popular birthing facebook page one day, which then lead me to a blog about the things that health care providers say. I began reading to discover what I wouldn’t want to say to a patient someday. Soon I began to read it and believe the comments. That’s where I lost myself, I think.

I began to doubt my CNM. Was she a “medwife”? Had she not had my best interests in mind? What would have happened without the Pitocin? Sometimes I would stare at my son and feel as though I failed him. Who knows what all those “interventions” did to him?

As I became more involved, reading more blogs, following more facebook pages, I also became more involved as a nursing student. My class reports – no matter what class – centered around childbirth, pregnancy, or women’s health. In reality, I think they kept me grounded – scientific research isn’t perfect, but paired with an intelligent and skeptical mind, you can really analyze anything.

I went on to give birth to my daughter, with the same CNM in the same hospital, but no Pitocin, no epidural, and not a mere utterance of such from the nurses or CNM. In fact, the only debate I really remember is me in transition saying “I can’t do this… I’m not going to be able to” and my CNM saying “You can, you’re doing great, and that baby is coming in less than half an hour” – and she was right. I think the sheer terror of the potential of hours and hours of horrible labor were behind the words I spit out, and her confidence was all I needed. Although I’ll admit my husband replying with “You’re silly, you ARE doing it” were pretty darn nice, too – but hey, he hasn’t witnessed 1,000+ births. What does he know?

My faith was somewhat restored in my CNM. I was confident and pleased with birth #2, and I can’t say I’ve doubted it for a second. And while hours and hours of labor isn’t fun, I would never be able to say that one birth trumped the other. Both gave me beautiful children, and isn’t that the priority?

Yet I still continued to follow these pages quite regularly. One night – one particularly bad night, when my three year old was simply a terror, I finally ended up shutting myself in my room, where I sat on the floor bawling. My husband was left to diffuse the situation outside first, then cautiously enter, unsure of what was really wrong or what to do. He sat next to me and I crawled in his lap and cried “What if this is my fault? What if this is my fault for failing when I was in labor?” I sobbed for I don’t know how long. It felt like hours. Hours and hours where I sat there blaming myself for all that happened in my labor with my son, and how his spirit, his intelligence, his curiousity and his damn stubborness was surely my fault for not having the “perfect” birth that NCB’ers talk about, by themselves in a rented pool in their living room, or with a home birth midwife – a REAL midwife – not a “OB in disguise” like I had.

It took a couple of days for me to level out before I realized the error in everything. NCB’ers tell you to have an empowering birth – one that makes you feel incredible about yourself. I did – twice – and then spent some time where that was taken away from me, and I began to doubt that the incredible feeling I had for weeks after delivering both of my children was well deserved. They then mentally vaccinated me with horrific ideas of all the things that would be wrong with my son because I had “failed”, and all the things that were wrong with me because I wasn’t patient enough, didn’t wait, didn’t “know enough” to manage the pain – and I began to feel as if I wasn’t even a woman, and had no right to birth a baby. They left me bawling on the floor one night, convinced that the Pitocin used to get my labor moving again was so dangerous, so harmful, and so awful of me to do that I had destined my son to be a mess – without little regard for things in natural labor that cause issues, too, like hypoxia in labor having a very strong correlation in a lot of research to be associated with schizophrenia. Do you ever see a NCB’er mention that?

I have such a smart son, and such a clever little girl, and while neither are perfect, both are beautiful, healthy, normal kids who were born in beautiful, healthy, normal ways – and never again will I doubt what I did for them. I will not let anyone lead me to believe that anything I did in labor made me a horrible mom, or destined them for anything. And never ever EVER will I doubt my CNM’s – to this day I think I got better care than I could have imagined, and the best partners in my labor that I could have asked for. My births were perfect, even if they weren’t perfectly natural, perfectly intervention free, or perfectly at home. They were perfect for me, perfect for my husband, perfect for my babies… and no one else has any room to say otherwise.

I’m Going to Have My Work Cut Out For Me

As you may or may not know, I’m an aspiring nurse-midwife.  I also had my two kids with a nurse-midwife, and my labors were not perfect.  I certainly don’t expect others to be.

But sometimes…. sometimes I read stuff that really bothers me.  Pretty much anything on www.myobsaidwhat.com, for example.  (This is your warning, medical professionals in L&D – you may be quoted when you say stupid things!)  Sometimes, though, it is people I know.  And I always keep my mouth shut.  After all, like I just said – my labors were not perfect.  I agreed to an epidural after 12 hours of labor with Ollie (which really did it’s job nicely in my case, so I’m proof it’s not all bad.  I had stalled for hours upon hours, and was able to progress very quickly and easily after that), and maybe wasn’t the quietest patient with Emmie.  (Although I certainly wasn’t the loudest.)  I may have been the most pessimistic, though.  Not sure.  I was pretty convinced that I simply couldn’t do it.  The good thing about labor is you don’t have a choice.  Once you’re there, you’re there.  Other than that, it was a perfect birth with roughly only a 4 hour labor, of which 1.5 hours was spent in the car at 3 in the morning on extremely foggy roads.  If anyone deserves a reward, though, it is my husband for staying so calm and driving so well in zero visibility with a squirming woman in labor next to him.  Props.

Anyway, so I never say anything.  I never do challenge these women to do their own research, do a little reading, find out more about what is going on with their bodies and their baby’s bodies.  I think ultimately when I tell people I used a midwife, they think I’m one of those scary, perfect-birthing, ultra conservative mamas who is going to chew their butt for having an epidural or a c-section.  Do I like the idea of c-sections? No.  Am I glad I didn’t have one?  Yes.  Do I have a problem with women having the choice to have a c-section if they want to without being scared or coerced into itAbsolutely not.

Sometimes it’s what goes on with the c-section that sets me off.  For example, someone recently told me that her c-section was going to be ordered as soon as they were sure that the baby’s lungs were fully developed, so she wouldn’t have to be pregnant the full 40 weeks.

There are so many things wrong with that statement.

Please believe me when I say that they can’t tell for sure that the lungs are fully developed.  A doctor might argue that yes, they do know, because after all, they are doing ultrasounds, and they know the due date based on the baby’s size.

So I take it one step further and say please believe me when I tell you that ultrasounds after the 12th week can be flawed as many as 3-4 weeks depending on genetics, the tech doing the measuring, the position of baby, and size in general.

Insert quick personal story here – when I was pregnant with Ollie, my midwife sent me in for an ultrasound at 8 weeks for dating.  No one else I knew had done this, but then again, at that point I didn’t know anyone else who had seen a midwife.  (Hospital or home)  She explained to me that until roughly 12 weeks after conception, a fetus is very consistent on size, and that genetics doesn’t ‘kick in’, so the best ultrasound to estimate a due date is before 12 weeks.  Sweet, okay, whatever.  At that point I didn’t know much about the subject, but when I went home and studied it, I found it to be very true. 

Fast forward 12 weeks to my 20 week ultrasound.  Imagine my surprise when my previous ultrasound due date was set at July 28th, and this ultrasound read July 2nd.  I was further along than I thought!  Sweet!  I was totally pumped.

Yet when I met with my midwife, she said “Nope, not changing your due date.  The first ultrasound is the correct one, and you’re just growing a big baby in there.”  Now my friends immediately thought this was sheer insanity.  I think I kind of got caught up in it.

Braxton Hicks started in mid-June, and by late June I was having some real contractions, too.  So early July I was ready.  I wasn’t buying into that first ultrasound.  I knew it was time.

The 2nd passed.  And the 3rd.  The 4th I was admitted, but didn’t progress and was only at a 1, so I was sent home. 

Eventually I went into labor.  I was admitted to the hospital on July 28th, and Ollie was born July 29th.  He was not wrinkly, as post term babies are (my daughter was, though!), and was 9 lb, 7 oz., and 22.5 inches long.  He was a big baby.

Now he’s 2 and a half and wears size 5 in BOYS (toddlers clothes are too small).  He’s still a big kid.

My point with that story is that the early dating with ultrasound works, and that your due date per your 20 week ultrasound can be total crap.

So now, back on track.  Knowing what I know, there was no early ultrasound to date this pregnancy that was about to be forced into completion on what could possibly end up to be a baby that is born too early.  Babies’ lungs finish late in the pregnancy – sometimes as late as 38 weeks – which means that if that ultrasound is off by 2 weeks, you may end up with a baby in the NICU.  Not fun.

So my main problem is that we have a doctor telling a patient that they will know when the baby’s lungs are fully developed, presumably by due date, because they can’t tell with  an ultrasound really, and then they will make sure that she doesn’t have to be pregnant anymore.

Doesn’t have to be pregnant anymore.  That part gets me, too.

This time I’m pulling out a soapbox.  When you get pregnant, a good majority of the time it’s because you want to have a baby, right?  And every parent wants a healthy baby – that’s a given.  So why why why why why are we yanking babies out before they are done growing and developing (because let’s face it, they aren’t going to stay in there forever) and risking their health?  Is two weeks of pregnancy THAT bad, that you’re willing to risk your baby being in an ICU, possibly for more than those two weeks, all because you just ‘didn’t want to be pregnant anymore’?  I understand the feeling… I totally do.  Try getting all pumped up (even though you were told not to) for a baby that you believe is going to be born nearly a full month before he was.  Yet when it came down to it, as much as I wanted to go into labor, I did not want them to induce me (and they did offer to schedule it once I hit my due date) and I did not want a c-section.  

When I went a full week over with Emmie, my only complaint was that my midwife said on Friday “I will see you before Monday, you’re not going to last that long” and I arrived at the hospital around 4:30 AM on Monday morning, and when she walked in the door I said “You said I wouldn’t make it until Monday!  I’ve been waiting ALL WEEKEND!”  Sure, I wanted to be done, but I wanted a healthy baby more. 

Maybe the problem is that people really don’t realize the risks of ‘taking’ babies early.  Or the amount of error you can have in an ultrasound – or that you might have a freakishly ginormous kid who has been in the 99.75 growth percentile his entire life.  (For the record, my daughter has been at the 50% since the day she was conceived, and I see no sign of that changing.  I don’t only have huge kids.)  Maybe it’s poor medical providers, maybe it’s ignorance.  I’m not sure.  But I do know that my dream job of standing up for women’s rights and helping to teach them and support them will be a challenge.  One I eagerly embrace, but a challenge nonetheless, and I am so anxious to get to that point.

*I’m sorry if I offended anyone.  Please, if you don’t agree with me, feel free to dispute it, but also look into the topic a bit, too.  I’ve done a boatload of research and read studies all the time on birth and pregnancy, and this really is my passion.  I do believe in every woman’s right to the birth that she wants, her way, no matter what  before anything else, and I hope you can respect that.  Thanks for reading!*

My God, I Am Lucky

I am reading birth stories on www.unnecesarean.com. Having nothing to compare my birth to really, I had no idea how lucky I was until I started reading all these birth/midwife books. Now I’m horrified.

I’m reading Mason’s birth, which is currently the second story on the RSS feed. Some of the little things that I guess I didn’t even consider were really important to me now that I read these stories. When given her epidural, she had to lean into the nurse. Her husband couldn’t move at all, and was not allowed to touch her. I leaned into Nick, which was so nice. His smell, just HIM… it was so comforting.

Not being allowed to eat, too. I didn’t have much. I think I had some crackers and some soup. Big whoop. But still, not having eaten for hours and then getting induced, which usually results in a LONGGGGGGG labor…. how can they possibly expect a woman to deliver her baby vaginally if they have her absolutely famished? Probably not going to happen.

Because she was on a pitocin drip, she wasn’t allowed much freedom. Not even to sit in the bathroom for very long. I was all over the place. Hallways, tub, toilet, birthing ball, pacing… here, there, everywhere. And all of you women who have labored know how good it feels to sit on the toilet during!

But what really, REALLY makes my heart bleed is this:
“I felt very ashamed as I was wheeled down the halls, and by the nurses’ station. I couldn’t look any of them in the eye. I felt really embarrassed, even silly. I was totally numb, I felt like a beached whale; like a cow going in for the slaughter. They knew why I was going to the OR. I was going because I failed as a woman.”

Now I’m definitely not going to sit and preach to everyone that they should all give birth naturally, and that if you don’t you are a failure, because that is CERTAINLY not true. Any of us who have had something in labor (or afterwards!) not go the way they hoped/planned can relate to this, though. I felt this way when my midwife suggested an epidural for me. Just because I had stalled at a 9 for like EVER, I was a failure. (Of course, I’m blessed. An OB probably would have “sent me in for the slaughter” too. And no lie, Ollie was a big dude.) I also felt this way because of the failure in the breastfeeding department. But we, as women, should NEVER EVER feel this way, be made to feel this way, or have a reason to feel this way. And yes, not everything goes the way you plan it to – it never will. But when NOTHING goes the way you plan it to…. I can’t even imagine.

I talked to a friend the other day who was asking me about my labor. She’s pregnant with her second. Had an “unnecesarean” with the first. She said sadly “I really wish I had been able to do a normal delivery”. I said “Why don’t you this time?” to which her response was “my doctor won’t let me. It’s not safe.”

Oh, ladies. It may be true, it may not be safe in her situation. I don’t know all the details. But generally speaking, most women do just fine with a traditional birth after a c-section. Research VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean.). My mom is a perfect example. Rose was an unnecesarean – a pretty common story where they induced labor because she was “overdue”, her heart rate dropped, and they had to do an emergency c-section – and Gus was a natural birth. My suggestion? Talk to a midwife. Susan and Rhonda in Cambridge do VBAC’s constantly.

Like Peggy Vincent, the author of “Baby Catcher” says. Doctors think that labor is abnormal unless proven otherwise. Midwifes believe labor is normal unless proven otherwise.

Well put, Peggy.

So Yeah, Now I’m Obsessed

It started so innocently… I checked out the book “Baby Catcher – Chronicles of a Modern Midwife” at the library. Now I’m a giant puddle of emotions, thoughts, desires. I’ve finished that (excellent) book, and moved on to yet another book, “Born in the USA – How A Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed To Put Women and Children First.” Boy, am I glad I used a midwife.

So now I’m in even deeper. I’m addicted to these spontaneous, always different birth stories. I’m passionate about a woman’s right to labor wherever she wants with whoever she wants. I’m caught up in the changes that have been made in labor and delivery, and the changes to come. My experience was excellent, and I so want to spread that cheer.

This is still a huge leap of faith, though, and sometimes I have trouble processing that. I worked as a real estate receptionist before I got my license. I knew what the job entailed, what it was about. I can’t take a sneak peak of this job. I can’t go stand in some woman’s L&D room (without getting arrested, anyway), to experience this before I do it.

I wonder if I could get a home midwife to let me come with, if a patient agreed.

Or perhaps one of you friends who are popping out babies should call me when you go into labor. They say women make the best coaches….

My Labor Story

I finally wrote my labor story down for a friend, and I know others were waiting on it… so here you go. It was kind of quick, but I think I covered everything.

I went in at 9:30 on Monday night. When we went, we went with the thought that the contractions MAY get worse, or my tolerance would wear down, we’d end up there at midnight, and get out at 4 AM, and Nick would be exhausted. That happened to us like a week and a half before. I had been down to the hospital twice before, only to get sent home. So when I went that night, it was with the thought that when I got sent home, at least Nick would be able to get SOME sleep.I got there, and the nurse checked me and didn’t seem to positive, but they wanted to wait and see what happened. They asked me if I wanted to walk or get in the tub, or what I wanted to do. Well, of COURSE I said the tub. Who wouldn’t want to sit in the jetted tub?So in the tub I went.Half an hour later, there’s a knock and the door opens. There stands my midwife, and she says “Just what do you think you’re doing?” I stared at her like she was blind and said “Sitting in the tub…” She says “I don’t think so. Let’s go, missy. You’re WALKING.”So I got out of the tub, and they checked me, and luckily I had been in to see her that afternoon, so she knew that I had at least made SOME progress. Gown, robe, and then I was out and walking the maternity floor, Susan (my midwife) on my left side, Nick on my right. We did laps for FOUR HOURS. Around midnight I was dialated to a full 2. By 1 Am the contractions were bad enough that I couldn’t walk through them anymore. Susan would have me stop and wrap my arms around Nick’s neck and sway back and forth. (Very helpful – eases the pain and helps you progress, just in case you wanted to know.) By the time we stopped at 2 AM, I was a 3. Susan looked at me and said “How are you feeling?” And I replied with one word – TUB. I don’t know if Mora has them, but Cambridge has jetted tubs in all their rooms. They are the best. If you have access to them, USE THEM.I sat in the tub for an hour, and at 3 I was dialated to a 4. Susan then asked if I wanted to have her break my water. We debated it, but I finally decided it had to happen sometime, and at that point Susan thought I only had 2-4 hours left if we did it. So I said yes. What a weird feeling. It’s like you are peeing yourself uncontrollably. And then when you have contractions it just seems to keep coming and coming… you begin to think it will never end. Most people I have talked to said once their water broke, the contractions instantly got really hard. Mine slowly and progressively got worse. By 4 AM I was dilated to a 9. Woo hoo! At that point I was hurting pretty bad, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it alone. Around 4:30 I asked for a shot of narcotics. I debated up until I ended up in the hospital whether an epidural or narcotics was the way to go. The narcotics dull the pain slightly – not as much as I think I hoped they would, but the great thing about them is that in between every contraction, you are pretty much asleep. At that point I was so tired, and the rest was a huge help. We went back to the tub, and I sat in there while Nick sat on the floor next to me. At this point my memory starts to lose time. I’m not sure how long I was in then – I think about an hour. Towards the end I fell asleep after one contraction, and when I woke up I felt like it had been quite a while. Sure enough,15 minutes had gone by without a contraction. I was terrified that labor had stalled and (in my irrational in-labor insanity) that they were going to send me home. Contractions went back to their regular interval at that point. Apparantly your body will naturally give you breaks like that to rest. I had no idea. Back out we went, and Susan had me get on the exercise ball. I remember very little of that. Nick sat in front of me and helped me rock back and forth. They checked me a while later, and I was still at a 9. By this time the narcotic was wearing off. I went for an hour after it wore off and finally asked for another dose. I remember the exams getting a little more painful, and the contractions getting worse, but I wasn’t progressing. We went on like that until 8:30, and I was still at a nine and the narcotics had worn off again. My midwife would not give me more than two doses of the narcotics, because it can make your baby pretty sleepy. They can reverse it once he’s born, but if there’s a problem during delivery, it could end up being an issue. At 8:30 my midwife fought to keep me awake after a contraction, and she was asking me to focus on what she was saying. She told me she was going to go ahead and order an epidural, but I had to okay it. She was worried that I had been stalled for so long, and now it had been nearly 12 hours and I hadn’t really had any sleep. She said I was too exhausted and we had no idea how long it would be, and she was afraid that without it I would never get through the rest of the labor. It took over half an hour for them to come in and hook me up. I was terrified – I hadn’t wanted an epidural anyway, and I was so afraid that I would have a really bad contraction while they were inserting the needle into my spine and that I’d end up paralyzed or something like that. I lived. I did have a contraction while they were trying to do it. I still managed to hold still enough that it was okay. By 9:30 I was feeling pretty good. By 10 I was feeling great. My parents came in to see me at that point, and my sister showed up just after they left. She came and sat in the room, and Nick took her aside and asked her to keep an eye on me while he tried to get some sleep. (Which is what I was supposed to be doing!) Rose and I watched TV and chatted, and finally around 12:45 I started to feel sleepy.Unfortunatly for me, just as I was falling asleep a little past 1, my midwife came in with two nurses, and they started doing Lord knows what. The room suddenly was filled with activity, and Susan said “Okay, Joslyn, it’s time.” (I still don’t know how she knew. I’m assuming that they figured it out with the monitors I had – I think I even had an internal at that point.) My sister was still in the room, and I suddenly didn’t care. Nick flew out of the chair he was asleep in and was ready to go. It was time to push.This was kind of the easy part in my opinion. I started pushing with contractions. Then my midwife brings in this big ol’ mirror so I can see what’s happening. I wasn’t really into that idea originally, but it helps SO MUCH, especially with an epidural, because you can see if what you are doing is working or not. Once I had that figured out, it was a breeze. Less than 40 minutes later, Ollie was born. Apparantly that part went pretty fast – especially considering his size. During the pushing, when we could see his head, his heart rate started dropping, so Susan did an episiotomy. I hardly noticed that. When they started guessing his weight, I thought they were kidding. I didn’t BELIEVE it when they told me he was 9 lbs 7 oz. I even remember saying “But that was too easy for that big of a baby!” The rest of the day flew by. I stayed awake pretty much the whole night, staring at him. The next morning Nick and I decided to put him in the nursery for just a little bit so I could shower and Nick could help. My family showed up right after Nick took him down and I was already in the tub, so Nick got the baby back and let them hold him while he came in and helped me shower. That was so nice. The next day my other midwife, Rhonda, came in to visit me, and she said “I know you had a long labor, and it was hard. How do you feel about it?” And I said “I would do it again!” She stared at me like I was nuts and said “I never hear that from first time moms – especially when they had a labor like yours!”We’re not really sure why I stopped progressing. Those hours were definitely the hardest. But I was so proud of myself for getting through it – and it wasn’t as bad as I expected.Anyway, now you have a novel! But I know I loved birth stories, so I thought I’d share it with you. Overall, don’t be scared, and trust your body. Anna Carlson was talking to me a few months before, and she said what you’ve probably already heard – “Women have been doing this for millions of years.” And I always thought, “Yeah, but I’m a sissy.” Well, I did it, and I didn’t think I could!

Childbirth Class and Doctor Visit

So I went to the doctor again yesterday, for a monthly visit. Oh fun. According to my original ultrasound due date (7 week ultrasound), I am 24 weeks. According to my original predictions, before any ultrasounds, I am 26 weeks. According to my 20 week ultrasound, I’m 26.5 weeks. And according to last visit’s measurements, I’m 26 weeks. However, my measurements yesterday put me at 28 weeks.
WTF is going on???
So next month I get to do the three hour test again. Yippee-ki-yay. The one hour is supposed to be under 140, and mine came back at 149 last month. So I did the three hour, and they all came back in the normal range except the one at the two hour mark. That one was a little high. (I think it was 5 points over.) So now my doctor is all like “Okay, no potatoes, no sweets, peas and corn are bad, avoid fruit and only a glass of juice a day.”
Just shoot me now.
So my biggest cravings – the things I have been snacking on – are mostly fruit, fruit cocktail, juice, potato objects, etc. I am a produce freak right now, and I’m basically stuck with lettuce, and grass might be okay, too.
I gained 2 pounds though! I’m so happy, because I ate so much the night before that I laid in bed half the night afraid I was going to throw up because I ate too much. So it worked. Then she’s telling me to cut out sweets.
I said “To be very honest with you, I want you to know that I will probably lose more weight then. I have been eating absolute SHIT, trying desperately to gain weight, and it’s not working. I eat well beyond when I’m full, I eat crap whenever I lose a few pounds….” I didn’t tell her that last week, when I had lost a bunch from being sick, I made Nick bring home a dozen donuts, and I ate them all in like two days. Hey, it worked. Don’t judge me.
So anyway, I have a baby inside of me that is going to pop out wearing 2T clothes and will walk across the delivery room. I think we’re skipping all stages of infancy and going straight to toddler-ism. Nick and I weren’t big babies… he was 8 pounds, and I was 7. No one else in my family was outrageously big… Gus was 8 pounds, Rose was six.
So naturally, knowing that I’m blowing up like a balloon very rapidly, I can’t help but sit in childbirth class absolutely terrified, trying to figure out how I’m going to give birth to a baby the size of a toddler. There’s just no way. Stick me with a fork, I’m done. When they say “Okay, your ultrasound is coming back saying that the baby was due in 2006”, that’s when I’m just going to schedule the damn c-section.
Now I’m all worried, too, that if I go into labor “early” according to the original due date, they are going to try to stop it. They don’t want you popping out that kid before 37 weeks. But what if what THEY think is 36 weeks is really like 39? UG. So I think if I go into labor in early July, I’m going to stay home as long as possible, hoping that they won’t be able to stop it. I mean, what’s the point? If he’s done, he’s done!
I get SOOOO frustrated, because like I said before, if I follow the schedule I’ve had SINCE I WAS THIRTEEN, I should be due in early July. But what do I know? I’ve only been me for 25 years. I guess I’m worried more about flexibility. I know the baby’s gonna come when the baby comes. I don’t want them inducing until sometime in August, and I don’t want them stopping the labor in early July. It really comes down to the fact that nobody has a fucking clue when I’m due, and that’s that.
So childbirth class. I was still so frustrated over all of the due date stuff, that when we had to introduce ourselves to others, I simply said “I have no clue… sometime in July.” Of course I had the skeptic, who was like “What do you MEAN you don’t know when your due date is? The doctors have to know.” To which I responded, “No, the doctors don’t really know. Every time they try to figure it out it comes up WAYYYYY different. So sometime in July. What does it matter?” And poor defensive Nick was like “You know, the baby will come when the baby is ready to come… there’s no point in getting all worried and worked up about a due date.” (This is coming from Mr. “I-read-every-weekly-update-religiously”. However, he reads the updates for like a three week span every week. He’s read most of them before, but he’s constantly reading them again.
Then, Miss Know It All was all like “Oh, you’re seeing the midwives, too?” And I said yes. She says “Oh, I LOVE Susan. Uh… but what do you think of RHONDA?”
I know I looked damn confused, and I’m like “What do you mean?”
And she says “I don’t know. She’s so PUSHY, and I really don’t like her. I just don’t think she knows anything.”
Okay, so I love Rhonda. Not that I have anything against Susan… I like Susan just fine. (In Cambridge, when working with a midwife, they make you alternate and see both, because whichever one is on call when you go into labor is the one you get.) She’s nice enough. Rhonda is a little more like a protective mother duck. I’ve seen Rhonda for YEARS now, and I’ve always loved her. (Although, looking back, nearly every time I’ve seen her she’s told me I need to lay off the potatoes… and I never have. Interesting.) I have to say that I’ve noticed that the visits have gotten shorter, due to more people seeing the midwives, but that’s too be expected. The same has happened with my primary physician, Amy. Cambridge is a whole lot busier than they used to be back in the day.
So anyway, the fun went on, and everyone began talking about where they are from. When Nick said we live north of Mora, you-know-who was like “What are you, nuts?”
I stared at her blankly for a second and said “I don’t like the Mora clinic, and I wanted a midwife.”
Thank goodness for her significant other, who said “Oh, Mora’s horrible. I went in there with a cough one time and was nearly killed.”
I said “Yeah, Nick almost got killed when he went in with a sore throat. I hear ya.”
Thank goodness social time was over. There was another couple, Ashley and Nick, who were really nice that we met, but unfortunately the teacher had a seating arrangement (So STUPID.) and we were stuck with Miss Know It All.
The evening wore on. Three hours. Three hours of some of the most basic information that I’ve read in millions of books already. Yes, I understand that the baby comes out of THAT hole. But instead of teaching us how to really deal with labor, we’re stuck in an anatomy class, which also explained in detail all the reasons a mom might get really stressed out or panicked during labor – primarily the fact that she wouldn’t know how to deal with it. I’m looking around the room at two girls who are VERY pregnant, and due pretty much as soon as they finish the 4 week class, and thinking “you know, wouldn’t it be better to teach us how to deal NOW, just in case? I mean, these girls are almost 37 weeks… and you’re telling them that you’re glad they are in this class so that they are prepared and know what to do, BUT YOU’RE NOT SHOWING THEM WHAT TO DO!”
I’m so glad I took this class as soon as I was eligible.
I figured that the first night would be a tour of the facilities, a talk with the drug giver, (I loved the drugs they gave me during my surgery… I wonder if I can get some of those.) and then the basic ways to deal with labor. Yeah, right.
I get the feeling that the teacher didn’t like Nick or I very well. You can tell we are two of a kind. We whispered back and forth to each other, rolled our eyes sometimes, glanced at each other in boredom, stared at the clock, fidgited, read ahead in the book, drank TONS of water… and I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one that has no idea what our homework was.
Finally, the last twenty minutes, we are all on the floor, women lying on their left side (I really just wanted to lay on my tummy. I’m spoiled.) on a blanket, with pillows for support. Most of the girls had the pillows under their stomachs or between their knees. We were told to bring three, and I had them all under my head. What? That’s how I sleep every night! I’m curled up on a denim quilt that I absolutely love because it’s thick and fluffy and warm, and all the other girls have these brand new blankets that looked like they were purchased just for the class. I sat on my blanket for 2/3’s of the class because the chairs hurt my butt. Miss Know It All looked at me like I was retarded for sitting on some grungy old quilt. In reality, at home, I stared at a full collection of queen sized quilts and heavily debated which one to take with me. I picked the denim one because of the thickness, and I smirked when I saw her lying on what basically was about as thick as a piece of paper on the cement poured floor. Who’s the retard now, huh?
ANYWAY, so we’re all lying down, and the lights are dimmed way down. Nick is sitting next to me (By this time it’s 20 to 9 and I don’t give a fuck anymore. It’s bedtime. I thought he should be lying with me, my laptop in front of me, and my sleep number set at 45, but no such luck.). He holds my hand and apparantly the teacher told us to close our eyes, but I had already tuned her out for the night. So Nick told me to close my eyes. I stared at him. He shut my eyelids with his fingers. So stupid.
The teacher began with the whole “feel your jaw relax, feel your head sink into your pillow” crap. I squirmed. How the HELL am I supposed to relax when curled up on this hard ass floor? I opened my eyes and asked Nick “Where’s the control? My sleep number is off.”
He grinned and said “I have it here.” He held up his hand and began to make the noise of air rushing out of the mattress. We got a quick glare from the teacher. I couldn’t help it… I giggled.
I closed my eyes again, but due to my rebellious, you-can’t-make-me-do-nothin’ attitude, it didn’t matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t focus on her words and relax. I mean, I would try and try, but my fingers kept twitching, my mind kept racing… I was just not able to focus. I finally gave up, figuring I would practice relaxing in my sleep number bed when I got home.
Then I realized with horror that the bed that I was going to give birth on may not be any more comfortable than this stupid floor. In fact, it might be worse considering I had a thick ass quilt underneath me.
That’s when it all went to hell. I opened my eyes and completely gave up. I was overwhelmed with terror that the two days or whatever that I spent in the hospital would be sleepless ones. I tried to sleep on a couch a couple weeks ago at my parents, just for a nap, and I was miserable and hurt everywhere… after 10 minutes. Oh God, what has happened to me?
“Nick, maybe we should have the baby at home. On the sleep number bed.”
This got a “you’re nuts” look from Nick. “I’m not letting you risk getting that bed stained. Do you know how much that thing cost?”
I glared at him. Of course I knew! I’m the one who bought it!
Finally, the teacher started the 1-2-3-4 breathing. Now, this would have been easy enough if she had at least a little bit of rhythm. No such luck. She had told us not to hold our breath, but this is how she counted.
“In, 2, 3, 4, (pause, pause, pause, pause,) out, 2, 3, 4. (Pause, pause, pause, pause.)
I’m staring blankly into space. I have a boy that is 4 weeks bigger than he’s supposed to be sitting on my freakin’ rib cage. I can barely breathe in for 4. I’m lying on a concrete floor with shitty carpet, and it sure as hell doesn’t give any to allow my lungs room to expand. My hips, which have gotten wider, are up so high that they also impare my breathing, at least on the side that’s up.
THERE IS NO WAY I CAN BREATHE FOR THE EQUIVILENT OF EIGHT COUNTS, much less exhale in such.
So I once again have pretty much given up. I try to keep up, but it’s not happening. I hurt, I have to pee, it’s past my bedtime, and I miss my cats. I want to go home. I’m not one to go out in the evenings anyway…. I have my routine, and I like it. You’re fucking with my routine and fucking with my breathing rhythm.
I keep trying, but find myself getting dizzy. Fantastic. I focus on getting the room to hold still, and she finally releases us from the hell that is prepared childbirth.
As all of us whale sized women are trying to get off the floor, she says “Okay everyone, your homework is…”
Honestly, I have no idea what she said. Nick and I turned to each other in horror, and I said “Great. It will be just like high school. Neither of us will do it.” He grinned a little and nodded, more relaxed now that he realized that I A) would never remember what we were supposed to do, and B) am a rebellious non-homework-doer, just like him.
Once in the parking lot, after making sure I was at least out of the earshot of Miss Know It All, I looked at Nick and said “Holy crap. We should have done the home course.” I have seriously contemplated skipping next week and going the THIRD week, when we do the tours and learn labor techniques. However, I’m afraid that Nick will not let me get away with that, especially since the class costs 35 bucks.
I got a sub for dinner though, so all in all it was an okay day.

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