Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Journey to a Home Birth

As many of you know, Alan and I, after years of struggling with infertility, are 10 weeks along with our first child.  YAY!

What you may not know is that We have decided to pursue a midwife-assisted home birth.  We do not intend on going to the hospital and meeting with an ob at all through our pregnancy and delivery.  We will still do all of the blood tests, ultrasounds, and checkups that are recommended for a birth, and we will have all of that medical knowledge at our fingertips, but we have chosen to take a more active role in our birth process.  The part that makes me happiest, is that Alan is just as enthusiastic about it as I am, and I can go to him when I'm having my questioning days and he is there to help remind me of the reasons we chose to this path..

Our midwife is Richelle Jolley, CPM.  You can view her website here.

If you are like the vast majority of people in America, you already think that we are insane for our choice, especially with this being our first birth and given our past struggles with infertility.  I'm sure the thought crosses your mind that we are risking both my life and our baby's life by being a 15 minute drive to a hospital when we deliver.  I'm sure the risks of fetal resuscitation, the cord being wrapped around the baby's neck, postpartum hemorrhage, and the lack of instant access to pain medication and antibiotics have also crossed your mind.   I bring these things up not to increase your worry for us, but to let you know that we have considered these options and are not going into this blindly.

And we are blissfully happy and content with our decision.  Seriously, blissed-out with it.  

It was a decision we came to with much prayer and research, and it is a decision that we will continue to research throughout this pregnancy.  If things change and we feel like we should go to the hospital, I will have no hesitation with going.  If we have to have an emergency C-section, so be it, because that it what the hospital is for.  I don't expect everyone to have a home birth, nor would I recommend it to everyone.  It is a personal choice that everyone needs to make for themselves, and I do not think less of anyone for choosing a hospital birth regardless of the reason.

I wanted to address the most common objections we have had in making our decision to have a home birth.


"You're so brave!  I could never do that!"
This one is one of the most common ones, and it always makes me chuckle a bit.  The truth is that I am far more scared of going to the hospital than I am of delivering at home.  At home I am far more in control of the situation than I would be at the hospital.  Here are a few of the things that I have seen forced on laboring women in the hospital that I will not have pressure to do at home:
Forced restriction to the bed - Most often because an epidural has been administered or because the fetal monitor has been screwed into the baby's head.
Forced Catheterization -  If you cannot move you cannot get up to pee.
Constant Fetal Monitoring - They literally screw a monitor into your baby's head, so that they can monitor them all the time. Studies have shown that it is not medically necessary for constant monitoring, and that frequent  with a belly monitor is just as safe, with no damage done to your child.
Forced Starvation - Most women do not feel up to eating during labor, but for for extended labors it is a good idea to eat if you feel up to it, even if it gets thrown up immediately.  That's a long time of intense physical activity to go without feeding your body.


Only One Delivery Position 
When you deliver in the hospital, you almost always are forced to deliver on your back with your legs up in the stirrups, which is the worst position for everyone but the doctor.  When you are on your back gravity is of no help to you and is an interference.  The baby must defy gravity to move up and over your tailbone, which means you have to push harder than you would if you were squatting or kneeling.  Not to mention that it is very hard to fully engage those pushing muscles on your back, rather than a more upright position.
Pressure for Interventions - Hospitals are businesses.  Their job is to get you in and out with as short of time possible, or if not to make the most money off of you while you are there.  The longer a labor progresses, the more you are pressured into things like Pitocin or an epidural, and the more interventions you have, the easier it is to have another.  This is fine if you want those interventions from the get-go, but we do not.  Even if you have an intervention-free birth plan, you will be pressured at a time where you are most vulnerable to make decisions based on your immediate animal instincts,  you are less likely to have the focus to read over the 10 page warning label for each medication, and when you ask the Dr what the risk is and he says "It's minimal" and you sign, you have no legal leg to stand on if that medication causes serious complications.  And you're crazy if you think you're going to be the only one pressured into a procedure that you do not want.  I have heard many stories of couples who have gone to the hospital for a delivery, and the husband was told he was risking his wife and child's lives by not doing a medically unnecessary procedure like a C-section.  My parents were told by they Dr with their second child that they could either have a c-section or get out of the hospital, because it was the only safe way to deliver.  My parents bravely left the hospital in the middle of labor, and went to a different hospital, where a few hours later my sister was born healthy and happy, with no ill effects from the vaginal delivery or the delay in getting to another hospital.  Not all, but some (most) Doctors will omit the truth, exaggerate, or outright lie to you to keep them in control of the birth.
Delivery is on the Doctor's Schedule, Not Your Body's - I have never heard of a doctor who will stay with their patient through the whole labor and delivery.  Never.  It's simply not possible for them to do so.  I have heard many stories of mothers who were ready to push, and were told to wait until the Dr arrived.  In one situation with my sister in law, my niece was crowning for 10 minutes waiting for the Dr to arrive, because the nurse was too scared to deliver without the Dr there.  Fortunately, everything turned out all right, and she miraculously had no ill effects, but she could easily have died while waiting for the Dr to get there and play catcher.   For all we knew the placenta could have detached prematurely (especially as she was given Pitocin, which drastically increases the risk of premature detachment), meaning that she would have been without life-sustaining oxygen for the full 10 minutes!  A Midwife does not leave you in the middle of a birth, and is ready for you to push when you are ready to push.

"You should have an epidural so that you don't have be in pain."
Call me crazy, but who says birth has to be that painful?  The hospital does a lot of things that INCREASE the pain of childbirth, including preventing a mother from walking/moving through labor, routinely doing episiotomies, forcing you to give birth on your back, and using drugs to cause labor to progress faster, which causes harder, longer, more painful contractions.  The hospital is also a very high stress environment, which can be worse to deal with than physical pain.  I plan on having a water birth, which many women say is better at soothing pain than an epidural, without all of the negative side effects and the lack of control.  There are also therapies like meditation, which help you key in to the rush of endorphins that happen with birth.  Do I expect to feel pain?  Yes I do, but I would rather have that pain on my own terms and in my own sacred space, where I can deal with it best.  I believe that a lot of the pain of childbirth is mental, and that if you believe it will hurt it will.

"What's the point of all of these medical advances if you don't use them?"
Medicine, in particular obstetrics, does not have a good history of fully researching the medicines and advancements used BEFORE they start using them.  If you really want to see what Medicine has considered Advancements, do some research on Twilight Sleep, or on any drug that has been recalled for use in Labor and delivery.  The Business of Being Born, and Pregnant in America are two wonderful documentaries that go over all of the ways where medical advancements have NOT been as helpful as everyone seems to believe.  There are some medical advancements that are wonderful, and are a great help in pregnancy and birth, such as RH factor tests and medication, and amazing medical advances in C-sections.  Taking birth away from midwifes and away from home is not what I consider a medical advancement.  If you look at the developed countries in the world, our fatality rate for mothers and babies is second to last!  If you compare our fatality rate to the world as a whole, we rank around 50th, under some 3rd world countries!  If medical advancement has done more good than harm, then why are we ranked well below developed countries like Holland, where they have the same technology as we do (if not less advanced than ours) yet their homebirth rate is around 80%, and ours is less than 2%?  Obviously delivering at home is not a bad thing for mother and baby, if you take advantage of the medical advancements to make sure you are in the 95% of births that happen without any issues or complications.  And if you are in that 5%, well that's what hospitals and Drs are there for!

"But Midwifes can't do everything a Doctor can"
True, a midwife would not be able to do an emergency C-section.  While a CNM is unable to administer drugs such as pitocin, they are able to use herbal treatments, which often have better outcomes and have less side effects.  A midwife can also preform an episiotomy or do sutures if needed.  We chose a midwife because of the things she can do that a doctor cannot.  She will be with us every step of the way.   A doctor is obligated to be with other patients, and cannot stay with you during the entire delivery.  Additionally, a midwife is more flexible with birth positions, and will do everything possible to facilitate moving the baby into a good position, including massage, walking, and squatting.

"Your first baby you should be in a hospital because you don't know what issues could come up and you don't want to have to transport to the hospital in an emergency."
There was a recent study done on mothers with Low-Risk pregnancies who were giving birth for the first time.  They found that the mortality rate for mothers and babies in births that started out in the hospital versus those that needed to be emergently transported from home to the hospital were identical.  Statistically there is no advantage to having a low risk birth start out in the hospital or start out at home.

"My baby and/or I would have died if I had had him/her at home instead of the hospital."
I'm gonna go religious on this one.  This is the argument that concerned us the most.  No one wants to be responsible for the death of a loved one, be it wife or child.  Alan and I have both done a ton of research and then prayed about this decision, and have received the most wonderful sense of comfort and peace about it.  It was not an easy road for us to get pregnant, and we spent months in treatment and on medication to help things along.  When we did get pregnant it was when we were on a break from all of the meds.  God has definitely proven that he is in control, and will do what is best.  By allowing us to conceive, God has given us earthy stewardship over his precious son or daughter, and that means that we have the privileged to know what is best for that child.  Any mother or father has that right, and it should be something that you take advantage of.  We are constantly asking what is best, and we feel right about this decision.  I am confident that if we need to go to the hospital, we will be told that we should go to the hospital - end of story.  If there is something that we need to do to prepare, like having oxygen on hand, we will have oxygen on hand.  I am not so set on this plan that I would defy God's guidance and stay at home when I shouldn't.  Alan is just as likely to receive those prompting inspirations as I am, and we both feel very good about protecting our baby by giving birth at home.


If you want to know more about our decision, or would like some of the statistics behind our choice feel free to contact me!  We are very happy with our decision, and we welcome all comments, encouragements, and even criticism.  In my opinion, birth options should be discussed far more openly than they are now, and there is always more to learn!





Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beanie is doing rather well!  We had our 8 week ultrasound Monday, and he or she is right on schedule for growth.  We got to hear the heartbeat, which has moved to 184 BPM.  It was kind of sad, because someone called in sick at work so Alan couldn't make it, but I did call him so that he was able to hear it over the phone.  We also recorded it so that he could watch it later.  The video is below.
video

 Here's the picture!  Beanie's grown a ton since the last ultrasound!


























6 Weeks along




8 Weeks along

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Superwoman!


I know a lot of people complain about the symptoms of pregnancy, but there is one in particular that I think is just fabulous;  The superhuman sense of smell.  I mean, seriously!  I can smell things that I never would have been able to 3 months ago.  It can be an issue at times, especially when you work right across the freeway from the poop plant, but how seriously cool is it!  

I know God certainly doesn’t need my approval for things like that, but I am amazed at how much foresight it took to develop it.  It’s such perfect timing!  At the point where everything around you has the potential to effect two people instead of one, God gives you a super power to help you avoid potentially dangerous substances, from rotten food to cigarette smoke.  As far as super powers go it probably doesn’t make the list of top 20 most desired (Flight, invisibility, and super strength have it beat by a mile) but how often in your life do you get a real life superpower?!  

Call me a kid at heart, but I’m totally geeking out about how cool this is!

 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Le Bus


My Mom and dad just bought a bus for their spring break trip to six flags. Alan and I aren't going to make it, since Alan can't get off work, which is actually ok by me.  I don't know if I'd feel up to roller coasters by then anyways.  The bus is a small handicapped bus, and dad has been making requests for everyone to come up with designs.  


















This is my vote.


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I think dad's a fan of it.  We'll just have to see how it turns out.    I've also come up with the following designs.



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Which one is your favorite?

Guess what?!?!




Guess what!?!?!


We're preggo!

It was actually a total surprise too!  I Haven't had a period since I miscarried back in December, so we took a little break to work on our foster care stuff and just let my body start a cycle again on its own.  About 2 months ago I went in to check and they wanted to start me on progesterone to cause a period.  I started it in February, with no success.  They then gave me a shot of Progesterone that they assured me would work in 5 days of less, and that also didn't work.  I went in on Tuesday to do an ultrasound to see why I hadn't had a period, and they told me that my uterine lining was thicker than usual, so the situation was really bizarre, because everyone starts their period on this medication.  They decided to do some some blood tests to see what my hormones were doing.  They called me back a few hours later to tell me that the reason why I wasn't having a period is because I was between 4-6 weeks pregnant according to my HCG levels!  I could not utter a coherent sentence for about 2 minutes.  I was in so much shock!  I hadn't had a full period in nearly 4 months, and low and behold we were pregnant!  I freaked out a little as I went on a rebellious stage after the miscarriage and had stopped taking my prenatal vitamins, but now we're back on track with those.

After speaking with the nurse I immediately called Alan.  I was at work when I picked up the phone, and several of my cooworkers heard me say "Oh my gosh!  Are you serious?!" and I wanted him to be the first to know.  Alan was super stunned when I called him, because he wasn't expecting it either.  He's been wonderful about it, and I think he's more excited than even I am.  I can't walk within arms reach of him without him rubbing my belly, and he hasn't called me Ani since we found out.  Instead it's "Mommy"  which is a shock whenever he says it.  We have our ultrasound to see how far along I am Monday at 1:15.  I'm hoping they'll be able to see something on there.  We're ok if we don't see a heart beat, I just want to confirm that we have something growing in there.

It's kind of hilarious, as two other girls on my team of 11 people are pregnant, and the only guy on our team's wife is also pregnant.  4 out of 11 is crazy, and most of the rest are too old to have kids now anyways!  I have girls on my fertility group asking me to send them a bottle of water from work.  It does have me a little freaked out, because one of the girls, Emeline, has a three year old daughter who told her she was having twins.  Low and behold, when they went in for the ultrasound there were two distinct fetuses in there.  This same child has also predicted that I will have twins.  I'm tempted to discount it, because we weren't on any fertility meds and twins don't run in my family, but it still freaks me out.  The thing that also worries me is that her HCG level was 3000 when they went in for the ultrasound for her twins, and mine was 5000 on Tuesday and they didn't see anything when they checked my Uterus.  They weren't really looking for a baby, and it would only be about the size of a lentil, so they could easily have missed it, but high HCG levels are one indicator of multiples.  I just hope it's not triplets!

I haven't really had any Nausea yet, which is awesome, but I have noticed other symptops.  My sense of smell has intensified, food (Particularly Chocolate) tastes differnent,  I have been a little over emotional, and I have had some weird cravings.  My dinner last night consisted of a pound of broiled asparagus (Yummy!) a boiled egg, and sausage with cheese.  Alan has just been laughing at all the crazy things I've been eating.  I still hate dill pickels though, so at least that hasn't changed.  A week ago Alan and I had an hour long argument about something he said that really just set me off, when normally I wouldn't have thought twice about it.  Poor guy.

We are planning right now to go with a Midwife for our birth.  I've felt really REALLY good about not going to a hospital, and I would plan on a midwife assisted home birth even if we find out we're having twins.  Our preferred midwife has had experience with twins, so if everything looks good I would love to stay out of the hospital.  I've had too many bad experiences with hospitals not respecting the wishes of their patients, particularly when it comes to medical intervention.   I also have a feeling that if we have twins we would be really pressured into a scheduled c-section if we went to a hospital.  I do not want to do a c-section until after a trial of labor, even if it's a breach birth.  I know that God will direct us in which way is the best way, and that if a hospital is needed we will be know that.  I'm feeling really calm about this pregnancy, and I know it will all work out for the best whatever happens.  I plan on keeping a regular journal on here of everything, so updates and pictures will happen as we go along.  See you Monday with more news!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Announcement!

We have an announcement to make! Alan and I have decided to adopt!  We are in a situation where we could financially handle a baby, and it truly feels like the next step in our family.  We have been blessed to have many wonderful examples of adoption in our lives, and are thrilled at the idea of finally becoming parents. 

We know that the journey will be hard and may take some time, but we know without a doubt it will be worth it.  Despite all the love and joy we have had as a couple, children have always been the missing factor - the thing that truly makes a family.  Complications have prevented us from having children, and we are thrilled to have this option available to us.

Right now we are in the process of getting signed up with LDS family services, and are also contacting Utah Foster Care to become Certified Foster parents.  We would prefer a child under the age of two, and would love a child of either gender.  At this point we are open to all options, and are working on getting our paperwork completed to qualify for international as well as national adoptions.  

Even with all of the options we are pursuing right now, we know that all of you will be out greatest asset.  The most successful adoptions are via word of mouth, and we hope that if you hear of someone considering adoption, that you will think of us.   Additionally, if you have had any experience with adoption, we would love your advice

We are so incredibly excited for this opportunity, and cannot wait to welcome a little boy or girl into our home and hearts!  

We have started an adoption blog here.  I haven't finished all of our bios and such, but this is the address for it:


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ideas

This is a high image post, so beware.  I just joined Pinterest, which is probably one of the coolest sites I've ever seen!  I follow a ton of blogs, and find a bunch of amazing tutorials that I love, but organizing all of the tutorials so I can find them again is a pain in the butt.  I have just been creating bookmark folders for them, but then I have to constantly export and import my bookmarks to other folders, which just adds to my troubles.  With Pinterest, you can "pin" items that you see into folders that you customize.  Now no matter where I am, I can look up my favorite sites an tutorials!  

In order to add an item to Pinterest, it does have to be posted online, so I am posting some of the craft ideas that I have gathered over the years.  I am not sure who made them, so if you know please reply so I can give them credit.