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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why I'm Choosing a Natural Home Birth

 I want this shirt!

      Since announcing my pregnancy and my decision to have a midwife assisted at-home water birth , I've gotten a lot of "You're braver than me" type comments.  The truth is that is so not even a little bit the case.  What's true is that I've figured out what I want from my laboring and birthing experience and it's not something I'm guaranteed to get by going to a hospital where they try to control the situation.  Truth be told I never grew up thinking I would have my babies at home.  The idea seemed archaic and out of practice.  I remember once in Elementary School a friend of mine, Courtney, mentioned that she wanted to have her babies underwater and I was shocked and thought she was crazy.  (I think her mom is a Labor and Delivery Nurse so that's probably what prompted the thought.  Or maybe it was TV.)  In High School, my best friend, Megan, said that she was going to go without drugs and again I thought she was nuts.  Didn't she watch TV?!  Hadn't she heard the horror birth stories of the women who had gone before us?  Her own mother gave birth to a plethora of children so she must have known that it was a horrific and extremely painful process.  Hadn't anyone explained that you start saying "No Drugs" and then the pain kicks in full-force and you're begging for an epidural?  That's what I knew, so it made sense that someday when I was pregnant I would go to a hospital and they would drug me up and I'd pop out a baby.  Done deal.  (I realize it takes a great deal more than that, I'm just generalizing and summing it up.)

      Now, however, my opinions and outlook have changed almost completely.  While I still believe in the power of modern technology, medicine, doctors, and hospitals doing some amazing things to save lives, I also believe that a woman's body was made with the specific ability to bear children.  It wasn't an idea that I came up with all of a sudden though.  I feel like certain things in my life helped me get to a point where I could accept Natural Home Birth as an alternative to a multiple-intervention hospital birth.  Despite how I had felt about birth before, I never liked going to the doctor.  In fact, I haven't been to a doctor for something since High School.  My Mom being from Europe, a continent that embraces natural and holistic healing, was always there telling us that there were natural remedies we could use that would be much safer than your typical off-the-shelves drugs.  (That's not to say there isn't a time and place for certain medications and that I don't use some of them.) My Dad was a RN and so I always had taken on his stance and thought she was silly and all this natural stuff was for the birds.

      When I was going to school for massage it further enforced my burgeoning belief that the body had ways of healing itself.  A whole world of healing and holistic thinking was opened to me and I really started seeing things from a different perspective.  One of my brother-in-law's introduced us to The Body Code and muscle testing and it didn't take long for our family to jump right in.  Now, what really turned me around and got me thinking more about Natural Home Birth was when my friend Jenna of That Wife became pregnant and would post about her journey and experience with a midwife and her choice for a home birth.  I was impressed with the research she showed and information she shared comparing the risks and benefits.  But what really got to me was the type of experience she said she would be having at home compared to what it would be like in a hospital.  I knew right away that that was how I wanted it to be for me.  Also, I watched The Business of Being Born and that really got me going.  Great documentary!

      Since taking more of an interest in this view, I've found out a few things about the ladies I'm related to.  Both my Mom and Ty's Mom gave birth to ALL of their children naturally, though in hospitals.  I think I was even more impressed by Ty's Mom because those are some big headed boys.  :)  Then, come to find out my Mom was born at home, as well as two of her siblings!  (One was not able to be due to complications.)  How I never knew any of this before blows my mind.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get some of these birth stories from my Omi because I would love to hear what her experiences were like.  To get even crazier, my Aunt is a midwife!!!  It's like the universe is shouting at me to have this baby naturally.

      I found a blog that listed 10 reasons why she chose an unmedicated birth.  To read it go to this link.  Seriously, go to the link.  I'll wait here....................................................You're back!  Hooray!  Though, I haven't yet experienced it, I agree with everything she wrote*.

Here are some of my own reasons and benefits of giving birth at home:
  1. I want to avoid interventions.  I always believed they were necessary, but have come to find that's not always true.  I would rather not be induced, particularly, because these drugs are not the same as my own body's hormones doing their job and working at a natural and normal rate.  I also want to be able to do this without nurses and doctors giving me weird looks and feeling like the place where I'm having my child doesn't support my decision.
  2. My home is the most comfortable place I can be.  All my stuff is here and I know where it is.  I can roam around in my own area and not feel awkward that I can't go somewhere.  There won't be nurses coming in and out of the room.  The atmosphere and mood will be what I set it as. Also, I won't have to wait for a room to be available.  The room where I will have my baby will be available until the baby starts living in there.
  3. Immediate contact with my baby.  No rushing her off for tests.  This baby and I are already forming a very special bond and I'm so anxious and ready to pull her up onto my chest and hold her and start that physical touch bond as soon as she is on the outside of my body.
  4. Breastfeeding as soon as possible.  I'm still not sure if I'll do this immediately after birth or when they have been checked out and I'm "comfortably" sitting up in my bed once again holding my newborn, but hooray for having the choice!  Again, I want to begin that special bond with my baby very soon.  (Can you tell I'm a super big Feeler personality?!)
  5. During labor, I can eat and drink.  I would like to stick to healthy choices of course and things that help keep my energy up.  Hospitals, generally speaking, don't allow that.  I have read that you can do it as long as they aren't in the room, but I don't want to have to be sneaky and stressed.  I want to be able to go into my kitchen, grab an apple or a sandwich from my fridge and munch on it if I feel the desire.
  6. It might sound silly, but I really want to have that "I am WOMAN and I did this.  BOOYAH!" moment.  It may not be said aloud, but the thought will be there.  Believe it or not, I'm really insecure and I know that I will have moments of doubt.  However, one of the things my midwife said to me in the initial consult that made me feel like she was right for us was, "The body can do it, it's just convincing the mind that you can."  SO TRUE!
  7. Laboring and birthing in water is believed, and proven for many women, to relieve to some degree the pain you experience during this time.  Make no mistake, I'm expecting pain and discomfort, but when I learned about this method, I knew this was something I wanted to at least try.  Who wouldn't want to utilize a way of easing their pain?  There are some hospitals that let you labor in water, but when it comes time to push, you have to get out.  Sad day.
  8. Like birthing in water, why wouldn't I want to give birthing at home a try, if I have no complications?  Low-risk mothers giving birth at home have the same risks that low-risk mothers do who go to the hospital.  If any complications arise, we are literally a 3 minute drive from the hospital.  However, I'm fully confident in my abilities as well as the skills and knowledge of my midwife. 

*  Keep in mind when she says there are no risks with an unmedicated birth, she's not talking about the risks and ranging possibilities that can come along with most births.  When you receive meds during labor there are risks to each of them.  It's that way with any medication you take.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Belly Pics Part 2

     Are y'all excited for some more pictures?!  I'm excited.  I feel crazy huge and I know I'm only going to get bigger.  Gah!  Despite that, I really don't feel fat.  People at church are finally starting to acknowledge my pregnancy (my Visiting Teaching partner is also pregnant and is high risk and has needed some help so more people know about her).  Yesterday, at church, I received a lot of very nice compliments on how cute I look :).  Though people also kept saying I look small.  Haha.  All I can think is, "How is that possible?!!".  Though, I think, from the front it's harder to tell that I'm even pregnant at all.  I haven't done a front picture since 6 weeks, so maybe I should do another to compare.

     Enough chat!  Let's look at some pictures.  If you forgot, go here to look at my pictures from the last post.

    The growth of my belly almost seems minimal, but every week feels like an accomplishment.  I can't believe I'm 6 months pregnant.  There were definitely times when I wasn't sure I'd even get to be pregnant and now I'm halfway through.  All is well, all is well.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

2011 Halloween Movie List

      I'm late getting this up, but what they hay.  As of late, my post on my Halloween Movie List, from last year, has been getting a lot of hits with people searching for Netflix Instant Halloween movies.  Unfortunately, Netflix Instant doesn't have some of the goodies it used to.  In this list, I've included the ones I will watch (or have already watched) by getting them from Netflix, Netflix Instant, or I own them.  If I own them and they are also on Netflix Instant, I've listed it so for your convenience.

My updated Halloween Movie List:

Hocus Pocus (own)
Edward Scissorhands (Netflix)
Spaced Invaders (own)
The Burbs (Netflix)
Ghostbusters (own)
Ghostbusters 2 (own)
Nightmare Before Christmas (own)
Casper (Netflix)
The Witches (own)
Beetlejuice (Netflix)
The Sixth Sense (Netflix)
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (own)
The Others (Netflix Instant)
What Lies Beneath (Netflix)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (Netflix Instant)
Addams Family (Netflix)
Addams Family Values (Netflix)
Clue (own)
Ernest Scared Stupid (own)
Labyrinth (own, also on Netflix Instant)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (own)
The Mummy (own)
The Mummy Returns (own)
Goonies (own)
The Covenant (own)
Ghost Rider (own)
Private Eyes (own)
The Skeleton Key (own, also on Netflix Instant)
So I Married an Axe Murderer (own)
Batman Begins (own)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Netflix)

      You might have noticed that I took out both "The Ring" and "The Ring2".  After watching them last year, I couldn't shake this uneasy feeling that I was watching something truly evil.  I like being a little spooked, but I'm not for feeling like I'm watching something that isn't good for me.  So, I added "So I Married an Axe Murderer", "Batman Begins", and "E.T the Extra-Terrestrial".  These really should have been on my list last year!  In fact, I think I did watch E.T. last year even though it was no where on my list.  That's just crazy. 

What movies do you just have to watch for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pregnancy Sleep

      Since the very beginning of my pregnancy, I've had issues with getting a comfortable and good night's rest.  Now that I'm well into my second trimester (how crazy is that?!), it really hasn't improved.   In fact, it has progressed in the negative direction.  Laying in a comfortable position is more difficult to come by.  I'm used to lying on my back to begin with and then naturally move around during sleep.  Starting out on my side isn't so much of an issue, however staying that way is.   My tummy isn't the only thing getting bigger and my front is being pulled forward.  This causes a lot of stress and tension in my upper back, shoulders, and neck.  Headaches are a frequent morning visitor that can sometimes last well into the day.   My hips, though they have be much better as if late, can only be comfortable with my body pillow between my legs.  Ty is not a fan of this practice as it tends to invades our cuddle space. :)  I just love him.  Another thing that has helped my hips is putting an egg shell mattress pad under the sheets.   A much cheaper solution to getting a new mattress.

      Nightly bathroom breaks will often interrupt my sleep cycle.  I try to get my daily amount of water in before it gets too late to avoid too many of those.  This seems to help, but I think my mind believes I still needs to go because I'll wake up for no reason.   And I'll stay that way for at least an hour, even though I still feel tired.  Isn't it annoying when you are so tired and even though you try to relax and fall asleep, and nothing happens?

      The last thing that has had a negative effect on my sleep is the crazy pregnancy dreams.  It didn't really come into play until the last couple of weeks.  The most horrific, and probably the most memorable unfortunately, would make a great horror flick as it involved a serial killer who cut off his victim's faces*.  Luckily, he was apprehended in the end, but the feelings of fear were still so strong when I woke up that I seriously couldn't move.   Others have been just as crazy, if not as gory.  I expect it will only continue. Um, hooray?

      I hope this didn't come across as complaining.  Rather as documentary.   Mostly, it's all very interesting to me what our bodies go through during pregnancy.   Physically as well as mentally.  To balance out my lack of sleep during the night, naps are a nice little comfort.  It's my favorite and can happen at any time of the day.  Regardless, of my sleeping patterns, the best part about lying down is that is when I feel our little girl the most.  So all in all it's good.

*Later that day on the radio they were talking about scary movies and they mentioned one called "Strangers", where a guy cuts peoples' faces off. Creeeeeeeeeepy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Midwife Appointment at 21 Weeks

     First thing she asked was about my weight, which is in the good range since I was able to loose weight at the beginning of the pregnancy.  However, I really need to take control of my "cravings" and not surrender to the lovely, yummy quick food that tempts me so.  She asked if I was able to feel the baby move and I happily answer yes.  I've sort of nicknamed this girl a "Vampire Baby" because I feel her most at night and almost never during the day.  So, I've come to the conclusion that she will be nocturnal and suck the living energy from me, thus "Vampire Baby".  It's cool, I still love her.  :)  Feeling her move is definitely a highlight for me.  She has yet to grow large enough to be able to find my ribs and other areas that will cause discomfort so this is the time to truly get the most enjoyment out of her wiggles.  Though, I have to confess, I hope to still find just as much joy when she's using my insides as her personal gym because it means she's alive and using her growing muscles.

     Next, we discussed my prenatal vitamins, which have been a source of tummy trouble for me.  Through the power of Facebook I was given lots of suggestions and tips and gummies were the popular choice.  I had bought some and taken them for two days and for some reason, I didn't think to check for it, but my midwife pointed out they don't have iron in them.  Since I'm somewhat predisposed to anemia I'd rather not risk getting a more serious case.  I tried taking the regular ones today in between soup and crackers, however, that didn't work out and I quickly ran for the bathroom.  If I can't find another alternative, I might just go with either Flintstones or some vitamins my midwife can prescribe to me.

     She briefly discussed the Anemia and Glucose test and what's involved with those as well as the birthing classes which will take place at our home.  Most likely, I'll be taking the test a week or two before Thanksgiving.  Oh how I hope the holidays don't turn on me (or rather I don't use the holidays to turn on myself).  The birth classes will happen about 29-30 weeks.  I'm excited for those, because it means I don't have to go anywhere.  :)

     Once again, blood pressure was taken and all is well.  She felt for baby and found her pretty quickly.  When we tried to get her to move and wiggle, she did what she did during the ultrasound, stayed put.  She moves for no one.  She's as stubborn as her mother.  I was measured and was measuring at 21 weeks, so right on.  This time finding her heartbeat, took milliseconds and it was loud and strong.  That's my girl!

     My personal goals until the next visit are to eat better (that's always true) and to find a good sustainable solution for prenatal vitamins.  And feel Baby Girl more.  Which isn't so much a goal as it is a desire.
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