Are you wondering how Monday went?
Monday we went in for our IUD ultrasound. The doctor was going to check the position of the IUD and pull it if it was in a good position. Then, the waiting game would begin. Apparently, sometimes the IUD pull can cause a miscarriage, but leaving it in has the same risk throughout the pregnancy instead of just after "the pull".
Well, the IUD was halfway out, so we were able to pull it. :) (Man alive, that hurt SO SO bad.) The doctor said that the IUDs usually drift to the edge of the uterus somewhere, to make room for baby. Ours was luckily in perfect position to come out. I got terrible cramps (felt like labor) that concerned us for a little while, but they only lasted for a few hours.
Fast forward to now....I am still pregnant! Hooray!
Now, things are starting to sink in. Wes and I have already had a lot of talks about what we want with this birth (meaning what we feel is the right birth for us - mainly me and the baby) and how we feel about our options. Since I have had three previous, healthy pregnancies and births, we've decided to try something different this time and go to a birthing center with a midwife.
I know many people are skeptical of this type of birth. There's probably nothing I could do or say to change that for you, so I'm not going to try. I personally feel that there is a very strong spiritual connection between mother, baby, and God from the get-go, and so far, no matter what I do, think, or say, I simply cannot feel comfortable (or even visualize) giving birth with this baby in a hospital. I do feel that part of that comes from my baby and from the Lord. Heavenly Father guides me every single moment of my mothering....why wouldn't he guide me from the minute I am a mother?
The first time I had a baby was a terrifying, horrific experience. It literally took me months and months to feel even somewhat normal again. I pretty much gave birth naturally other than my 15-minute epidural, and didn't even get to see of hold my little Kolton for over four hours. Not to mention the fact that I had to push for nearly three hours, had a grade 4 episiotomy, all the while being threatened nearly every contraction that if I didn't push this baby out soon, then I would be having a C-section. Many, many things went differently than we had requested....I ended up leaving that hospital the next day despite how awful I felt because of how terrible it was for me in that hospital. Once I was home, I started showing symptoms of MRSA virus (which I believe I picked up at the hospital)....the doctor didn't know what to do and ended up giving me instruction that led to the virus spreading and becoming as painful as labor had been. I am SO grateful that the first birth for me was the worst....it has progressively gotten better since then for sure.
The second time around, we were in Utah (thank goodness!) and I had a much better doctor and hospital staff. Because of how painful my first experience was, it took me until I was dilated to an 8 1/2 before I could be convinced by my mother that I was truly in labor and needed to go to the hospital. Once there, I received a spinal block (since the epidural wasn't fast enough) and pushed Micah out in just two contractions. I was happy with how things went during the birth - it was after that became frustrating. The nurses kept making up excuses to take Micah away and then they wouldn't give him back for hours and hours. Once they even gave him a bottle against my wished because his blood sugar was low...he hadn't nursed in over four hours because they'd had him. I was not happy about that at all. (He had TONS of hair and I finally learned that they'd been making excuses to take him and play with his hair. Although I can appreciate someone enjoying my baby's cuteness, I was the one who had carried him the past nine months and I wanted to hold him and play with him!) The nurses also kind of treated me (me, the woman married to a pharmacist who has to TWIST MY ARM to get me to take any medications) like a drug addict, and despite the fact that I was told by my doctor to get into the bathtub as soon as I could after birth to promote healing, they never ended up letting me get in the bath once. Not deal breaker issues, but they still affected things that were important to me - namely my bonding time with baby and my healing. Also, I ended up with a terrible backache from the spinal that lasted for months afterward. (It makes me cringe just thinking about it.)
This last time I decided despite wild contradicting from my doctor, that I wanted to give birth naturally, without an epidural. Wes and I took a hypnobirthing class and made a birth plan and shared it with our doctor, who agreed to honor it - all while telling me he didn't believe I would be able to do it. We brought it to the hospital with a treat before I had baby Jonah, and talked to our pediatrician and the nursery staff at the hospital. Everyone promised our wishes would be honored. But, once we showed up and I was dilated to a 5, everything changed. I was given an IV (which I'd been told I wouldn't have to have), I wasn't allowed in the tub (which I had been promised), the fetal monitoring I had was different than what was promised, and restricted me to one position on the hospital bed. The lights weren't dimmed....my room was Grand Central Station! I was told I would be left alone other than an occasional check or if something indicated intervention was necessary. I was given pitocin against my wishes - despite the fact that I've never need it because my labors are generally pretty fast - and despite the fact that I was only there for an hour-and-a-half before I delivered. After the birth, Jonah was whisked away to receive a bath we were promised Wes would be giving him after we'd been able to have skin-to-skin bonding time for two hours with the exception of a quick checkup. The cord was clamped immediately after birth despite promises from our doctor that he would wait five minutes before clamping. After that, we weren't able to see Jonah for five hours because "his body temperature was too low" and "his blood sugar was low"....duh. When you give a five minute old baby a bath and then don't wrap him in a blanket and out a hat on him don't let his mother feed him, what do you expect to happen? Then, once again I am treated like a Percocet and ice pack junkie and I am told that I am overdoing it. Plus, every time they took our baby, he wasn't returned until hours later after we'd show up at the nursery and insist to have him back. How come it is so hard for some nurses to understand that a health newborn belongs with his mother and needs to nurse often?! Why are we collection babies for the doctor to examine before he's even there?
So this time, we've decided that the only way to ensure we get the best for me and our baby is to try something different. I've had three healthy pregnancies and births, and so far am a low-risk mother. Why not deliver somewhere that takes only five women a month to ensure she knows them well enough to know what they need during birth? Why not be in a comfortable, respectful, nurturing environment where I am allowed to be in my element and get into comfortable birthing positions. Why not be somewhere where birth is treated as a natural, beautiful process rather than a medical emergency?
I had my doubts at first, especially considering the last time and how I had attempted a natural birth but ended up with an epidural. Our midwife says that 97% of women who go into the hospital planning on a natural, drug-free birth end up getting pain relief. I'm guessing because she is uncomfortable with the situation, not knowing how to make sure her wishes are respected without being demanding, and because she is in more pain from the pitocin she was given against her will and being forced to lay on a bed...that's how I felt. And I felt so good after my third that I credit it to the hypnobirthing I did do, and my desire to be as drug-free and rested as possible afterwards. Our midwife she thinks I can do natural birth easily since I know what I am doing by now and have made it to an 8 1/2 twice (Micah and Jonah) without an epidural. That little comment, along with strong affirmations and encouragement from Wes and my best friend, Celest, was really the tip of the iceberg for me. Funny thing is, now I feel as strongly about it as they did. I feel totally and completely at peace with my decision so far. I am excited and feeling very positive about our impending birth experience - as well as very grateful we have ample time to prepare.
I am planning on feeding my body the very best foods...I have double my green smoothie intake and decreased my intake of sweets. I have big plans for yoga, kettlebells, and relaxation practice. (Just digging up my old prenatal workout DVDs.) I am already delving into all kinds of books and movies (and YouTube videos) on natural childbirth and hypnobirthing in particular.I think I am going to enjoy completely - mentally, physically, and emotionally preparing for the big day. I know my baby and I will both be strong and resilient because I will be taking care of myself to the very best of my ability.
So, wish us luck on this new and exciting journey. Feel free to share your positive birth experiences with us...we'd love to hear them! Also, if you have any resources you know of that you think we might enjoy and benefit from, let us know. And for now, here's to a leap of faith!