Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birth Plan Fears

I had an OB appointment today.

Typical doctor’s visit – he was in and out in about 5 minutes. Everything is OK with the baby, and I passed the glucose test, which is good. I was going to ask a few birth plan related questions, but they were behind and I always feel like I’m wasting time or being a pain if I ask a bunch of things, then get ticked about it later because that’s what they’re there for and I’m certainly paying enough for it.

The two things I did double check was to see if they were usually good about “allowing” women to walk/move during labor, and if eating/drinking was allowed. I was told they let you drink, but limited the amount “to keep your stomach empty if you need surgery”, and that walking/moving was fine at first, but I “wouldn’t be able to later on when all the monitors and stuff were hooked up”. Mostly what I expected to hear, but not really what I want to hear. I am going to be trying to get a copy of the hospitals actual policies for labor & delivery, so that may help in planning.

I guess I was more optimistic early on, when the doctor did say he was supportive of natural childbirth and was more than willing to attend a waterbirth, but should have expected some backwardness when I found out I’d have to provide my own birth pool and things. I guess I’m afraid of getting to the hospital and the floor nurse saying that I can’t have the birth I planned because it conflicts with some policy or is inconvenient for them. I know I do have a right to refuse a lot of things, but it seems like a lot of women get tricked or manipulated into going against their own wishes during the birth process.

I’m also worried about my husband’s abilities as a support person. All the time he’s been saying he would not let anything happen I didn’t want, but when i was trying to explain some of my worries to him today, he walked out of the room and told me he needed to be away from me and “birth talk” because he couldn’t do anything, and that I needed to “wait and see what the hospital allowed” then re-write my plan. I tried to explain to him that the whole point is I need him to understand what I want and why, so he can support me, and so he doesn’t get manipulated by people telling him something is policy or “for my own good” to try to pressure me into interventions I don’t want.He just keeps saying with anything that’s done he’ll ask me if it’s what I really want, and not allow them to do anything I don’t want, but I don’t exactly know how coherent or rational I’ll be at that point.

Maybe it’s just first time mom jitters, but I am so afraid I’m going to end up with my mom and husband both taking the side of hospital staff and trying to push me into things I don’t want, and I am not sure if I can stand up to all of that during labor. I will have a doula, but I know it’s not her job to actually advocate for me, and I don’t want to put her in a position where it’s me & her against the staff and my family. I almost feel “safer” with a homebirth, but I have a feeling that would cause even more family friction and my mom would totally call CPS or try to have me committed if she heard about it.

It’s not like I’m even wanting that much, just freedom of movement/positioning, being allowed to drink and possibly eat so I have energy and don’t get dehydrated, and not having unnecessary drugs or interventions repeatedly offered or recommended.  When I worked at the prison hospital unit, inmates were allowed all the things, but they are routinely denied and looked at as unrealistic or demanding for mothers in labor, and I don’t understand that at all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Family Matters

I went home for Christmas this year, which was cool because the hubby was able to make it down with me for the 2nd time since we’ve been together [8 years!], and I wanted to see some extended family members while I still could, due to age and medical issues. The trip, overnight driving with a dog & cat sharing the same crate after the cat ripped the mesh out of her carrier, was interesting, and I’m totally counting it as “bonding time”, including the 2 hour stretch where  I fell asleep as Billy drove.

Our family didn’t do a whole lot of gifting this year, because money was tight on everybody, but we did get some nice things. The hubby ended up with a lot of clothes, which he needed, because I got a gift card to a store that didn’t have any maternity items and was unsure what size I’ll be wearing after the pregnancy. I got some new purses and things like that, and some cash, as well as a lot of clothes and things for the baby. My mom got me an “organic parenting” book, which is really cool because she seemed sort of dismissive of most of my crunchy tendencies at first.

We also got into a discussion of the whole birth plan and things, and she’s a lot more supportive than she was – I think because she’s been doing some research on her own. At first, she was like “just schedule a c-section, so it’ll be painless & convenient for everybody”, but she seems to understand why I don’t want that more now. I found out she never had an epidural, so she can see why I don’t want one or feel that is always necessary – I was born c-section, and her labor with my sister was so short there was no time for her to have it [I guess she had IV pain meds or something though]. At least short labor runs in the family. She’s also cool on the waterbirth and having a doula now, so long as I will have an OB available and am having a hospital birth. I think my dad’s still skeptical, but he’s very much bought into the idea that the doctors know best and everyone should listen to them.

One thing that suprised me was that my mom asked about circumcision, and neither one of my parents made a fuss when we said we won’t be having the baby circumcised. Apparently, my youngest nephew isn’t circ’ed either, because the insurance deemed it an unnecessary elective procedure and would not cover it. When I mentioned we were refusing several interventions, mom was pretty supportive, especially about the vitamin K shot because it has been linked to leukemia, which I had, and my dad was in agreement about the eyedrops seeming pointless & painful, especially when I explained they were mainly to protect the baby in case the mama had syphilis or gonorrhea.

Dad was really adamant about vaccinations and tried telling me that he wouldn’t be able to go to school or anything if he didn’t get all the shots right on schedule, but backed off some when I explained one of the main was I was skipping was HepB at birth. He didn’t even know about it, but didn’t think a hepatitis shot was needed that young. He went on a big rant about how “dangerous” it was because there were so many people who wouldn’t vaccinate against anything, but didn’t have an answer when I asked him why it should matter to those who were vaccinated, but calmed down when I explained some of the risks to him and how many more shots were recommended now than even when I was a child. I told him that we will get the most important vaccinations, but will probably go with a delayed schedule to give his immune system more time to build up and that we will asking for single, preservative free shots because they are safer and easier to pinpoint adverse reactions. I think he is so adamant about this because he had polio as a child, but he was vaccinated, and may not realize that in the years he was a child the vax cause more cases than the “wild” disease did.

It felt kind of weird discussing some of this with my parents, because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t coming across like I was criticizing how they raised me, but I figured it was better to talk about it beforehand than to have them second guessing it at the hospital or when the baby is young, because I may be more vulnerable then. At least they do know I have researched the choices I’m making, and am not just doing things based on a whim or something I saw on television or read in one book [at first, they thought the waterbirth was a total Ricki Lake thing, until they realized I didn't know what they were talking about because I don't watch television or follow much celebrity news - then my mom had to send me a link to the movie so I could see it].

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why A Blog? [from "Guerrilla Parenting" - the original title of this blog on WordPress]

I deleted my old blog, but thought it’d be good to start a new one, more focused on parenting and things, so I’ll have a record of what it was like, especially during the first few years after the baby is born. I’m copying some of the pregnancy related posts from my other site over to this one as well, so I can keep them.

A guerrilla is a member of a small, irregular army or force that operates in small bands inside occupied territory to combat stronger forces, usually by unconventional means. Guerrilla marketing relies on time, energy, and imagination to create unexpected & unconventional campaigns that create unique, engaging, and thought-provoking concepts designed to generate “buzz” and interest, and ideally to spread to a much larger audience.

While looking for information on birth and parenting as I await my first child, it seems to me that mothers are fighting an uphill battle against larger, stronger forces [much of the medical "establishment", the marketing forces of formula and other baby-related consumer industries, and much of public opinion].
Considering the current climate concerning birth, parenting, and women’s reproductive health, I thought that “Guerrilla Parenting” would be a good name for a blog. In the same way that small, less powerful companies use “Guerrilla Marketing” to compete with large companies and their advertising budgets, it seems like anyone who questions the current medical and consumer-driven “wisdom” concerning their options for birth and raising their children may have to resort to “Guerrilla Parenting” in order to control their own birth experience and guide their children’s lives as they see fit.

By blogging, tweeting, talking to other women, and otherwise combating the disinformation and misinformation out there, it is my hope to let other women know some of the options available to them, as well as some of the risks and negatives of many “routine” care practices, and to help give them more resources in making informed decisions and taking charge of their own birth and child-raising experiences.

[for anyone interested in the previous posts, they're available at:]
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