Monday, June 29, 2009

from baby bjorn to ergo

please let me explain a little (and also offer an apology for the longest blog post ever)...this is not a rip on baby bjorns...we have one...bryan still uses it with bodie - i can't stand it for more than 10 minutes because of my lordosis, but it is more the whole connotation i guess i have with bjorns and ergos...bjorns were the hip trendy baby carriers when i was pregnant with bryson...ergos are not just a baby carrier, but convey a baby-wearing, attachment parenting lifestyle that is evident in the accompaning instructional DVD. the ergo allows my ill back to carry my big bodie and keep my hands free, which is a necessity with child #2. anyway...this is the backdrop to the journey i have been on since being pregnant with bryson in 2005.

when people find out that bodie was born at home they usually ask, "is that how you had your first?" ... "NOOOOOO" i say... "i asked for an epidural when i was 30 weeks"... "So..." they ask, "what changed?" to this my reply changes with the person, how much time i have, who else is of my more simpler non-political answers is "my due date was christmas and i couldnt stomach the thought of being in a hospital on christmas" which is true. or i might say, "one of my good friends passed away due to cancer and hospitals became a place for sick people for me" which is also true...or i might say, "the only positive labor stories i have heard have been from women with home births and i wanted a different experience. i wanted to be in control." whis is also true...but the story is a lot more long-winded than that...

i was the first of my friends to be pregnant. i was the first to get married, so i suppose it follows that i was the first to have kids...but my nature wanted to wait for others to be ready - for community and fellowship and people who know better than i to hold my hand along the ride. our good friends, the marcus' had their son Wells 2 years before bodie was born and were a huge resource to me, but that was about it. my only pregnant comrades at that time were a high school friend who lived in san diego and a cousin who lived in seattle. i knew no one in long beach that could tell me how to be a mom - what kind of diapers were best - what breastfeeding is all about - when a rash warranted a doctor visit - if my baby was gaining enough weight.

i suppose i should have trusted myself more. i should have really believed in my upbringing and the amazing example i had in my mom. this is tangential, but my girlfriend Becky met Dr. Sears at a wedding when she was pregnant and asked him for any advice and he told her to trust in herself and "if you were stuck on a deserted island you would know how to raise that child because of your instincts" oh i wish someone could have instilled that confidence in me then!

at any rate...i felt alone, but ready. i had planned an epidural delivery and my only fears about labor was that the anesthesiologist would not make it in time or that it would wear off when i needed it the most. she did make it in time and it didnt wear off - in fact the doctor turned it off because i pushed horribly for 1 and a half hours. the whole labor and delivery was not what i expected - i felt confused most of the time and not in control and a little nervous that i couldnt feel my legs and wondering if it was normal that i didnt know if i was pushing right, but terrified to say anything for fear they would turn it off...after the last push the doctor told me to bend over and get my baby and i felt myself pulling him out and i gazed into his sweet eyes and just cried hysterically. my life had changed. instantly.

the next couple of days were also less than what i expected. the hospital we delivered at was less than kind to bryan...although i had a private room, he slept on the tile floor with no blankets the first night - i had intended on staying 2 nights, but found myself trying to check myself out the next day.

dont get me wrong - i think compared to a lot of stories i have heard i got off pretty easy and had a relatively "normal" and "easy" delivery. i produced a healthy baby and i got away with no stitches and no need for a vacuum or forceps or anything like that. but i think because the hospital would only let one other person beside bryan witness the birth and that they didnt ask me permission for anything i felt completely out of control of the situation.

i took our baby home and loved on that baby and for the next 2 years i made sense of the whole experience. i was able to hear a lot more labor stories from girlfriends...not from a book. i was able to hear the same story over and over and over again...."i wasn't dilating fast enough so they started me on pitocin and it was so painful i got an epidural...blah blah blah" my story over and over again. i heard a much different labor story from rashelle however - her experience sounded so peaceful. i also heard about our friend cybil who gave birth to a footling breech in her living room. i also heard about several other at home and natural births that sounded more like a joyous experience rather than...well...a confusing stay at a hospital...

then...devon got sick. devon first went into the hospital for what we all thought was a cyst in march of 2007 - right about the time we were thinking about #2. i did not want to visit her. in fact, i put it off. ruthie would call me and tell me i should go and yes i should, but a hospital is for sick people and devon just has a cyst and she will be fine so why are we making this a deal...i did visit her...i brought her a Bible at her request and we shared a wordless interchange and she started welling up and i squeezed her hand and whispered in her ear that i was praying for her and she was going to be fine. i tried to make the visit quick because visiting one of your good friends in the hospital before they enter into brain surgery for the first time is not fun. not fun at all.

fast forward through 2007 - more trips with devon to the hospital...bad news after bad mis-diagnosing after mis-diagnosing. hospitals quickly becoming a place for very sick people.

that year also we had been trying all year for #2. in late august i had finally become pregnant. we were so excited...and then so heartbroken when we lost the baby the next month. the miscarriage really shook me up. by that i mean it changed my whole perspective on being pregnant...on being a mom...on wanting something so bad and God not allowing it to happen. or so i blamed.

with bryson i complained about being pregnant a lot. maybe not around people, but definitely bryan and close friends. after the miscarriage i felt instant guilt for all of which i took for granted - the stretch marks and peeing constantly and baby kicks keeping me up...i longed for that discomfort.

we continued to try and each month would track my stuff and do the ovulation thing to no avail. i started going to my OB for fertility testing. it was at the last one (by which i mean if my results came back normal he would send me to fertility clinic) that i found out i was pregnant with Bodie. this was April of 2008.

i decided then to have a home birth and from first meeting with Sue (who had at that point delivered several girlfriends' babies and came with the utmost recommendation) i felt completely confident that i was making the right choice for me.

meanwhile, devon was still in treatment. she was broken up about radiation because it meant that she may not be able to have kids of her own...which she wanted so badly. she kept a good attitude and told everyone it was okay because her husband (who is from morrocco) said, "thats okay we can always buy one" she fought and fought - not just the cancer, but her insurance and the doctors and finally rested in peace in sept of 2008. i was 5 months pregnant. she was there for me when i was pregnant with bryson. she helped plan my baby shower and after he was born she organized all my friends to give gift cards to different restaurants with the take out menus instead of coming over with meals. she also helped babysit bryson and always treated him like a nephew.

i think i channelled a little of her spirit during labor. i also was grateful to be carrying a baby to term because of the miscarriage. i was also prepared - not just from reading books (this one i highly recommend) but from the psychological training of running - to deal with the pain. and it was painful and i wasn't the serene picture of a woman in labor i had hoped to be...BUT i had the support of my amazing husband and my best friend rashelle (filling in for my sister who spent christmas with her husband on the east coast) and my mother and mother in law and of course Sue and her assistant. i recall at one point in my mind thinking if i were at the hospital i would be asking for a C-section the contractions were so bad...but i did it...or rather my body knew how to do it and did it amazingly. i am still in awe of my body. i still don't mind all my extra squishy parts that much because i am so in awe of my body.

so this isnt a labor story...although that is a beautiful story itself...but rather a story of how i completely reprogrammed my thinking about childbirth and mommy-hood because of some heartbreaking and amazing circumstances. i know that home birth is not an option for a lot of mommies...i am not trying to make a case, but wanted to share my story because i feel like its time to be open with it...and because my hope is that this story encourages someone - perhaps someone that thinks they couldn't possibly do it (like i had thought) or someone who yearns for a better experience but perhaps is too nervous to do it. my hope is that more women trust in their bodies before modern medicine and listen to their maternal instincts rather than someone they heard on TV and encourage other women rather than make them feel incompetant...

this is silly...i need to go to bed...good night....all the love!

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