"Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males.

It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson

"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood

Following your instincts instead of the crowd

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Brain Says its Better, but My Heart is Sad

This has been a tough week. It started with utter exhaustion, which became a head cold, which turned into a 2 day migraine. And to top it all off, my period came on Tuesday. Now, last week I had told myself that it would be okay if I wasn't pregnant--I would trust the Lord on the timing, and it would give me more time to lose my excess fat and give Talita longer to nurse. Those are all things my brain told me. But the reality is that my heart is disappointed and discouraged. By convincing myself that I had already gotten pregnant again, I think I merely postponed the sorrow and the questioning of the miscarriage until now. It's taken me several days to come to terms with all of it. Not being able to throw myself into an intense exercise/diet program because of the illness hasn't helped me deal with my non-pregnant state very well either.

Don't get me wrong, I still believe there is one more child to come to our family. The Lord was merciful enough to remind me of the unmistakable answers to prayer I had already received about that. I just don't know when it will happen, and I've never been very good at delayed gratification. So, here's another learning experience I need to go through--trusting the Lord and His timing. It's one thing to say you will, even one thing to honestly feel that you will, and another thing to feel that way all the time.

I learned something else last week as well. First, when I do get pregnant again, I absolutely am not going to tell anyone besides my husband, my kids, and this blog. I may even postpone telling my kids until I'm past the 13 week mark. What brought me to this conclusion was having an extended family member who I hadn't told about my pregnancy ask how I was feeling and if I was nauseous or not. It took me a minute to realize that her husband had told her I was pregnant. Scott had told him I was and said that he had "sworn him to secrecy" not to tell his wife. I guess he forgot that part. Anyway, I awkwardly told her I had miscarried. For a very brief moment she seemed sympathetic, but then said, "Aren't you relieved? I mean, when I heard you were pregnant I thought what if there's something wrong with the baby? At your age and eight kids?" The look on her face when she said "eight kids" was completely and totally hurtful to me. Mainly because even though most people in their right minds would question 8 kids at my age, I had known it was right. The Lord has for over a year let me know that it was right and my heart and soul agreed with it. (My brain is often another matter.) Anyway, thinking of 8 kids for our family had come to feel almost sacred because of all the divine assurances I had received, so I was quite taken aback. I didn't really say anything to her in reply because I was speechless. So I think I just changed the subject. Ali was standing there through the whole conversation and she later told me that telling somebody they should be relieved to have a miscarriage wasn't exactly a very nice or appropriate thing to say. I had to work pretty hard over the next few days to really feel like I had forgiven her. And honestly I can totally understand where she is coming from. I'm sure most people would feel the way she did. I also realized there were things going on with her life in the last little while that made it easy to say what she did. So, I don't fault her. But I realize more than ever that I don't want my family who will feel that same way to worry about me when I do get pregnant again. I know what I'm doing. I'm healthy, (got to figure out those migraines though), and I have great tools available to help me have a healthy pregnancy and baby. And above all, the Lord has reassurred me that He will help me accomplish this and that it is His will.

So now, it's back to the trenches of increasing my faith and trust. And losing that baby fat!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Labor & Delivery Nurse Has Homebirth

VBAC Facts has the story. Especially telling are her coments at the end. She considers what would likely have happened had she given birth at the hospital and she points out that she had a big baby (9lbs) vaginally without a tear. A previous c-section was justified by her doctor because "her small pelvis just couldn't deliver an 8 lb baby."

Here's a re-post of the last paragraph:

"So to all of those women who have been told that you would have died in childbirth because you couldn’t push out your own baby YOU CAN! I am proof that I delivered a baby 1 pound bigger than what they said. I am an RN in labor an delivery and see all of the unnecessary
interventions that they do. I was pondering about my birth. If I would have chosen a hospital birth I probably would have ended up with another c/s or an episiotomy. There were times during my birth where I thought am I crazy I can’t deal with this pain. The midwives and doula helped me through the intense contractions. If I was at the hospital they would have bullied me into an epidural and therefore I wouldn’t have been able to move around to get her to come down. Also I wouldn’t have been able to feeling the progression of her head coming down when I pushed. With my son I pushed and couldn’t really feel any progress so mentally I was losing hope. With this birth it didn’t feel like I pushed for an hour because I could feel the accomplishment of her coming down. I see this happen all of the time at the hospital. If a mom isn’t pushing quick enough for the Dr or they think the head is too big then they will automatically do an episiotomy. They probably would have done that and it just shows that it would have been for nothing and I would have had a longer recovery time. So therefore I am grateful that I found homebirth and such wonderful midwives. Any of you who are contemplating homebirth vs hospital try your best to do homebirth. Don’t let money be an issue. After all is said and done money is money. You can always earn the money back but not the experience of a wonderful birth. I hope this inspires all of you who are having the normal feelings of “what if I can’t do it.” Good luck to your future births, You CAN do it!"

A couple of comments: An L&D nurse says "they would have bullied me into an epidural." Homebirthers are often accused of exaggerating the pressure put on women in the hospital to succumb to their interventions, yet here is a nurse speaking from her own experience of what actually goes on.

Second, the epidural during her previous hospital birth made it impossible to feel her baby moving down. She said because of that she "mentally lost hope." So when the doctor says "your baby is just too big," she believes him. The epidural numbs women to their own sensations and inner knowlege and they end up with an unnecessary c-section. (I should say, unecessary had they skipped the epidural.) How often does this happen? I would bet that it happens a lot. Very sad.

Be sure to read the comments at the end. I always find it interesting to read the absurd reasons OB's often give for justifying a c-section. It's also interesting to note the completely different tone in women who have done their research and had an empowering birth versus those women who turned themselves over to their OB's and blindly trusted them to do the best thing for them and their babies. These latter women are often full of fear about the "what-if's"of homebirth and seem almost afraid to question the mighty men in their white coats. (Sorry, I sound a little snarky today.)

Lastly, I just have to repost this comment because she raises some excellent points:

"I’m a birth professional who chose homebirth.
My years of study taught me that no data supported the contention that homebirth was riskier for mother and baby provided the following conditions were met:
the mother is low risk
the homebirth is planned
she has a trained, experienced birth attendant
there is a hospital within a reasonable distance

I find it interesting to think that the mother is somehow more responsible for outcomes at a homebirth than she would be if the birth took place in a hospital. Sorry but we can’t abdicate our responsibilty that easily Amy!

[love the following:]

If the woman chooses a caregiver or a facility that deprives her of food and drink, induces her labor, hyperstimulates the process with oxytocin, puts the woman on her back to birth, then deprives the newborn of her oxygen by cutting the cord prematurely and then routinely send the baby for observation in a nursery which may also undermine breastfeeding, how has that mother made choices to safeguard her baby’s well being?

Why not take a look at the gold standard of evidence based medicine which is The Cochrane Data Base. If you visit
http://www.childbirthconnection.org you can read the Guide to Evidence Based Care in Pregnancy in its entirety.

Homebirth is a viable and respectful alternative to both the hospital and the birthing center. As a professional I move among all three and always encourage each woman to choose the one that provides her with the sense of being loved and protected. If she thinks the hospital is that place we “dig” a little deeper to make certain its practices are congruent with what she REALLY needs and that usually isn’t an IV, lots of vaginal exams and multiple laboratories. It is a environment where she can freely move and express herself throughout labor and the actual birth (no restrictions in birthing positions) and one in which she doesn’t have routines foisted upon her. It is one where she can select who will accompany her at any moment in the process and one in which she doesn’t have to worry about the baby being removed from her arms at any time. If the hospital the woman chooses can meet these expectations then perhaps the hospital will work for her. If not she will do far better to stay at home! Here’s to health!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Breast Crawl

This amazing video shows the difference between babies whose mothers received medication during labor and those who did not. The study also compared babies separated from their mothers to be cleaned and measured and those whe were left on their mothers bodies immediately after birth. The poor medicated babies looked exhausted and clueless--well, they looked drugged. The unmedicated babies who stayed with their mothers looked so focused, assertive and intelligent. Much different than the typical newly washed and wrapped baby burrito who just kind of lays there in your arms. I think when I have another baby I'm going to try letting my baby do the "breast crawl."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sweet April Child

Sweet little love
Little Daughter Divine
You're a budding flower
Whose blossoming is near

You are April
But you dream of June
And every passing day
Beauty grows from within you

Dear April child
Are you dreaming of June
Like a tender young flower awaiting summer's bloom?
Sweet April child
In the springtime of youth
What a glorious season
It is yours, let it shine through

Awaken yourself dear child
A bud begins to wake
Deep inside you are already beautiful
Let it grow inside of you

Sweet April Child
It's the spring of your youth
Cherish these precious days
Summer comes all too soon.

Dear April Child
Still Dreaming of June….

Those are the lyrics to a lovely song from the movie Rigoletto. My oldest daughter sent them to me a month ago just on a whim. They made me cry at the time. I wasn’t sure why. I thought it interesting that the name I had picked out for this 8th child was Summer and yet when I “met” my baby during my hypnobabies practice when I was about 6 weeks along, that baby I held in my hand was not Summer, but a little girl named April. Now, 6 weeks later it all makes sense to me.

In my last blog post I mentioned that I started spotting again—exactly 4 weeks after the last time. It lasted 7 days and when it was done I told Scott that I needed to do another pregnancy test just to reassure myself that I was indeed pregnant. After all, I’d had 2 different positive pregnancy tests, one after the bleeding started. So I was still pregnant, right? On Monday I took the test and was afraid to look at the results. I just had a frightening feeling it was going to be negative. It was. Maybe it was wrong, I thought. I read through the instructions thoroughly and found that I didn’t keep the test stick in the urine stream the required 10 seconds but had only done it for 3. I had to take another test. Unfortunately, I had only bought 1 test. I didn’t want to go back to Wal-mart. I had spent over an hour and a half there that morning! So I went to a nearby grocery store. While I searched for the tests Charles and Talita kept escaping and running around the store. Finally I found the shelf where they should have been. They were completely out of every brand of pregnancy test. What? Was everybody pregnant? So then I went to Smiths. They had a generic brand that looked exactly like the Wal-mart cheapie brand I had bought that morning. But it was double the price of Wal-mart’s brand! Call me cheap, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay double. So I ended up back at Wal-mart. This time I bought the EPT brand which actually had a 3 pack on sale for slightly more than the 1 pack at Smiths. At home I waited impatiently until my bladder was fairly full and danced in the bathroom trying not to wet my pants while I unwrapped the package. I made sure I followed the instructions exactly. I was fully expecting to see the word “pregnant” on the test stick. Never have the words “Not Pregnant” been so absolutely crushing to my soul. I was stunned.

Scott came in the bathroom to find out the results. I couldn’t say anything. I just wordlessly handed him the test. He was visibly surprised and sad as well. At first I felt kind of numb, like I just couldn’t process it all. I knew it would take time. As I was getting Joshy to bed I told him that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. He didn’t quite know what I meant, so I had to say, “The baby died.” Immediately his sweet little face fell and tears filled his eyes. He began crying and I started crying too. Charles didn’t like to see either of us cry and so he told Joshy, who was crying the hardest, to stop. I told him it was okay to cry. Joshy was the happiest of all my kids that I was going to have another baby so it makes sense that it hit him the hardest. I now see great wisdom in not telling your children about being pregnant until after the first trimester is over. And yet, I don’t regret telling my kids. I think it’s a part of life and as long as loving parents are there to explain things to children, I believe it is better that we don’t shield them from the workings of life and death. Our energies are better spent shielding them from wickedness and evil and teaching them how to deal with all these things.

Anyway, I somewhat bitterly put away my pregnancy record and anything else that would remind me that I actually thought I was pregnant when I wasn’t. I knelt down waiting for Scott so we could have couple prayer before going to bed. I started to say a prayer on my own, but the tears started to flow. For some reason I just wasn’t ready to let it all out. So I quickly got up off my knees telling Heavenly Father that I just wasn’t ready yet. I talk to Heavenly Father all the time during the day so I just silently pled with Him to help me deal with this in the way that would be best. Scott said the couple prayer because he could tell that I just didn’t have the heart right then.

When I woke up the next morning and remembered everything I was again filled with sadness. As I went about getting Joshy ready for school, I just kept praying silently that Heavenly Father would help me understand it all. I was afraid I might get totally discouraged about my testing abilities and all the work I had done using The Body Code. I wondered how I could have gotten so many things wrong. I pled with HF to help me understand what I had tested correctly and what I gotten wrong. Surely, I hadn’t gotten it all wrong, had I? As I drove Joshy to school, in answer to my prayers, the ideas started coming to me.

I believe I did miscarry that second day of bleeding when I passed the large blood clot—the one that made me panic. At the time I instinctively knew I had just lost the baby, but didn’t want to believe it. I mistakenly believed that the hCG hormone would immediately be gone if the baby had died. Now I know, according to the pregnancy test instructions, that the hormone can actually stay in your body for up to two months after giving birth or having a miscarriage. So I think I actually miscarried at 7 weeks 5 days and that the baby died the Sunday before that. It actually all makes sense to me now. I hadn’t felt her sweet influence and spirit around since shortly after I “met” her at 6 weeks. It made me so sad that I couldn’t feel her spirit. I kept praying I would and wondering why she didn’t want to be around anymore. I thought she had just gone to stay with HF for a little while, but that her body was growing and all was well. I remembered how I did the HB Special Place track again after passing the large clot and this time when I went inside myself to meet her, my uterus was a dark, empty place. I can still see my spirit standing there crying out in terror and panic “Where are you? Where are you?” She was not there and I felt so utterly dark and empty. After a few weeks of wondering why she was not with me in spirit I finally asked and got an answer (when I was what I figured was 12 weeks) that I would feel her spirit again in 3 weeks.

As I drove Joshy to school the day after learning I had miscarried, it occurred to me that maybe that answer about feeling her spirit again wasn’t completely wrong. Maybe I would get pregnant again soon and I would feel a little spirit with me again then. As I pondered this I began to feel much better with the knowledge that the Lord would give me another opportunity to have a baby. Right after learning I wasn’t pregnant I had told myself that I was done and that it was my last chance to have another baby and that I just better deal with it and move on with my life. Those thoughts made me feel defeated and bitter. Believing that I would still have another child lifted those dark clouds away and gave me hope.

That night as I nursed Talita asleep, I again prayed for wisdom and understanding and the thoughts and feelings began to flow effortlessly. Occasionally as a thought would come it would be accompanied by strong, poignant, sweet emotion. It was a blessed gift from HF letting me know that it was a correct conclusion. I learned that April would not come in the next pregnancy. She will come during the millennium! It is Summer’s turn next and I will get pregnant this year. I have actually ovulated again and I believe fertilization has taken place sometime within the last 2 days. (I really hope time does not prove me wrong on this.) I think it actually happened on Monday. We did make love on Sunday and I noticed the extra mucous of ovulation on Monday and Tuesday, and also the little twinges in my uterus on Tuesday. If this is correct, it puts the birth right in the middle of summer--June 27th would be the guess date. What amazing timing! I feel I was inspired to do the pregnancy test the day I did. If I really did just get pregnant again, doing the test later would show up positive and I wouldn’t have known that it was actually a second pregnancy! The difference in timing and the growth of the baby could have really messed with my mind. Another tender mercy is that I didn’t have to sorrow and grieve for weeks because I didn’t know for weeks that I had actually miscarried. It’s all so amazing.

I am so grateful I will have the privilege of raising April in the millennium. She is too pure, too tender to come to earth at a time of such wickedness and turmoil. My peaceful dream with the light green spring grass and the rolling hills was depicting a time during the millennium. The child’s hand I was holding was Summer’s. That’s why it didn’t seem like Charles or Talita. I have been thinking about how amazingly selfless April is. HF knew that my uterus needed healing and He knew that when the crisis of miscarriage was at hand I wouldn’t rest until I got to the bottom of it. He had given me the tools I needed: The Body Code, a sweet, wonderful friend who knew reflexology, and knowledge of the herbs that would also help provide healing to my uterus. April’s mission was to prepare my body for another pregnancy. That is not her only mission, of course. And that was not her only chance to come earthside. I believe HF wants to reserve this tender, delicate soul for a time when there will be no wickedness or disease on the earth. What a glorious time that will be! I feel so blessed to have felt her sweet spirit for those few short weeks. I felt so happy to be a mother during that time, so in love with each of my children, more than I have ever felt at any time in my life. I also felt closer to Scott and he seemed to have more patience with our little ones. April’s influence on our family was divine and I look forward to feeling that again.

Now I have the opportunity to get to know another divine daughter of God, Summer Rainn. I’m excited for that. Whether it comes soon, like I think, or later on, I will trust HF and in His wisdom and timing. He truly is over all and He knows what He is doing! How I love Him! And how amazingly good He is to me!