Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I Hate Due Dates

40 weeks.  That's what experts say is the average gestational length.  40 weeks.  Except, the experts are wrong!  Why do we all buy into this idea of 40 weeks?  Only 5% of babies are actually born on their due dates, so in reality, shouldn't women be given due MONTHS?  Normal pregnancy lasts from 37 - 43 weeks!  That is quite a range!

As you can probably guess, I hit the 40 week mark this past Tuesday.  I keep waiting for some sign of impending labor, but besides some Braxton-Hicks contractions, I've got nothin'.  I'm trying to be all "zen" about waiting.  After all, I know that I could be pregnant for weeks still (oh, lordy...) but chances are she'll come pretty soon.

I am a member of a few Facebook groups for mommies, and my May group stuns me almost everyday.  There are so many post saying variations of "I'm 39 weeks, getting induced Monday!"  My questions is always "Why?"  Is there a medical reason?  A REAL medical reason?  Big babies aren't a medical emergency (especially since ultrasounds can be off by two pounds!).  Overdue isn't a medical emergency (especially since postdate doesn't happen until after 42/43 weeks).  Why are all these women getting induced, and don't they understand that they raise the risk of c-section exponentially with every unneeded intervention??

I may need to go in for a bio-physical test or ultrasound if I hit 41 or 42 weeks, just to check to make sure there isn't a medical issue (placenta deteriorating or something), but I have a feeling that Deb will just let it ride for awhile.

I guess, for now I'll just enjoy my three-year old as an only child and wait and see what happens!

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's Your Birth Vision?

At 36 weeks, I had my home visit.  For non-birth obsessed people, this is the part when the midwife comes to your home to get acquainted with it.  I also got to meet the back-up/birth assistant, Meredith.  She runs a midwifery practice as well.  In fact, she was the first midwife I contacted when I decided to switch to home birth, but her practice is a little too far away.  Ah, the joys of living in the middle of nowhere!

Some midwives conducted all their check-ups at the patient's home, but in Deb's case, it wouldn't be possible.  I have about an hour and 15 minute drive to her office, but honestly, it's not that bad.

Meredith arrived first, and we sat on the front porch and chatted while we waited fro Deb.  It's interesting meeting people in person after you've "met" them virtually via Facebook.  I forget what we talked about, but it was relaxing and pleasant.  Deb finally found the house (I told her it was's definitely brown.  I'm an idiot!)  I gave them the grand tour, starting with the kitchen and working our way to the front of the house.  They both determined that the bathtub with jets will be ideal for laboring in, but it's not really wide enough for birthing.  We decided against renting a birth pool because of the cost, so we're going to have a "land" birth.  I showed the ladies all three of Little Toots playrooms (otherwise known as J's office, the dining room, and the spare bedroom/Baby G's room).  They also asked to see the washer and dryer, because they'll do a load of towels and sheets before they leave after I give birth!  Whoa, full service!

We all went back to the living room, and I finished filling out some paper work regarding pediatricians and back-up doctors.  Then, they asked me a wonderful question: "What is you birth vision?"

My birth vision?  No one had ever asked me that before!  I was surprised and didn't know how to answer!  My birth vision...hmmmm.  Well, I pictured myself laboring in the tub.  I've made two different playlists - one energizing, one calming - and I planned on walking around as I needed.  For the actual birth, I just see myself in the living room.  After all, it's where I spend most of my time.  However, I'm not opposed to being in my bedroom if I feel like I need to be in a more intimate setting.  Little Toots will have free reign, she can be there or not, whatever she's comfortable with (mom-in-law is coming to watch her, so I won't have to worry about it).  Deb has a birth stool and a birth ball, and I love the idea of a birth stool, so I'll probably push on that - or not.  I know I'll want it quiet, cell phones off, no one texting people while I'm trying to concentrate.  Sister-in-law will hopefully be there to perform some Reiki, in case I need pain management.

As I was talking, the midwives kept nodding, occasionally offering suggestion (like certain foods or drinks that might be nice).  I felt so relaxed!  I realized that I'm not nervous about labor AT ALL!  Yes, I'm anxious to meet my daughter and to see her face, but contractions?  Pushing?  Not even a blip on my radar.  I am completely ready for it.  In fact, and this will sound crazy to many people, but I'm looking forward to it!

They both gave me a big hug when they left, and I made my next appointment with Deb.

Now all we have to do it wait!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Home Birth Myths

I've been so immersed in birth culture, that I have kind of forgotten that most of my "normal" seems pretty bizarre to mainstream Americans.  Words and phrased that are part of my vocabulary are more foreign than Japanese to many of my friends, family, and co-workers.  You mean to tell me people don't openly discuss placentas all day long??  What???

I just assume everyone knows what a home birth is, and how awesome I am for having one (teehee), but I thought I could take a minute to explain some of the process, and debunk some of the myths that surround the idea of home birth.

#1 Myth - Home Birth is dangerous.
There have been studies that show that home birth is just as safe -if not safer! - than giving birth in a hospital. Safety is rated by mother and infant mortality rate, and as a country the US is rated very poorly.  Here is a lovely write up by the BBC that explains the study a little better than I can.

#2 Myth - Midwives aren't professionals.
There are three different types of midwives - CNM, CPM, and lay midwives.  Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are training nurses - many times they actually work with an OBGYN and deliver in a hospital.  Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are - you guessed it!- also certified professionals.  Lay midwives are NOT certified and NOT professionals.  I wouldn't recommend using one - but I believe this is what many people think of when they hear "midwife".  I've only ever seen CNMs.  Once, I looked up the education CNMs and CPMs need...and whoa, boy, it's a lot.  Like a lot, a lot.  Yowzah.

#3 Myth - If there's an emergency, you're in trouble!
Nope, again, not true! Midwives carry tools and drugs in case there is an emergency, and there is always a plan B in place.  We extensively talk about what will happen in case of an emergency, what hospital I would prefer to transfer to, and if I have a back-up OBGYN (currently, I do not have a back-up, I'll have to take whoever if I need to transfer.)  My midwife will have Pitocin in case I bleed too much, oxygen for the baby if she needs it, sutures, and herbs.

#4 Myth - It's too expensive.
Yes, out of pocket payment can be a bit rough, but many times insurance will cover home birth.  For us, we have the worst insurance in the world, and we realized that with a natural childbirth in hospital, we would STILL end up paying at least $6000 AFTER insurance.  My midwife doesn't take insurance, but she only charges $3500 for all pre-natal care and delivery.  To me, that's a bargain!  My insurance will reimburse us for a portion.

There are a thousand blogs and websites out there that are much more eloquent than I, so I suggest you check some out, especially Birth Without Fear .