Buy Prints

I'm now accepting all forms of payments for prints.
Check out the online Store!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A bold new direction

I birthed Mira in the hospital. At the time, my reasons for choosing to do so were: 1) I like my OB a lot and wanted him to be the doctor at Mira's delivery and he has a specific hospital with which he works, and 2) I needed to feel safe. And really, the second reason was the biggie. It was my first time out the gate, so to speak, and while I had read a ton of books and attended a handful of classes and felt educated about my options, when I really got down to it, I didn't know what labor would feel like. I didn't know how my body would respond. I didn't know how painful a contraction would be. I didn't know if I was as strong as I needed to be. But at the hospital, I felt safe. I knew that I was in the best place possible should something go wrong. If Mira or I needed it, I was in a place that was equipped to handle pretty much anything.

But there were some negative aspects to having Mira in a hospital. The big problem I had was that I was strapped to a bunch of machinery (fetal monitors, blood pressure machine, etc). When my contractions got really strong, the only thing I found that helped was to walk around. But that was impeded by all the monitors. So it was a constant struggle between me and the nurse: every time the nurse left the room, I kept taking off all the monitors so that I could walk around, but then she'd just come back in and put them back on me and tell me to keep them on. I didn't listen. I'm sure she found me to be very annoying. The feeling was mutual. And I think this was a big contributing factor to me deciding to abandon my hopes of a natural birth and give in to request an epidural: at some point I just got tired of fighting her. The other reason that I requested the epidural at that point was that, with all the adrenaline and endorphins rushing through my body, my legs were shaking badly, but my contractions were only tolerable if I was standing. I was afraid I'd fall down. If I'd had the right support people around me, that could have been worked through. But I didn't. All I had was a nurse who kept telling me basically to lay down and shut up. (Oh and a husband who knew even less about what was going on and how to respond than I did.)

The other negative experience I had at the hospital was that they wanted me to deliver Mira on the doctor's schedule. At some point, I could feel through the epidural that it was time to push and I quickly discovered that it felt better to push with the urges. So I did. But the doctor who was supposed to deliver me was in an emergency c-section. Over the course of an hour or more, I gave light, half-hearted pushes when it felt right. And during that time, the nurse told me no less than 3 times that I needed to stop pushing and wait for the doctor. At one point she even told me that I needed to "cross my legs". Umm..... no. The doctor arrived just in time: I only pushed twice in the presence of the doctor before Mira was out. And my OB didn't end up delivering Mira after all because of the on-call rotation. So one of my two reasons for choosing a hospital birth didn't even really apply.

And then a day later when we wanted to leave the hospital and go home, the process took forever. We were cleared to leave by both my OB and the baby's pediatrician by 8am. But because the staff were dragging their feet, we didn't get discharged until right around 5pm, just in time to fight rush hour to get home.

So now that we're pregnant with #2, I'm starting to think back to my experiences with Mira and brainstorm about how I can make the outcome of this birth experience mesh more closely with my goals and desires...

Stay tuned for the continuation in tomorrow's post!

1 comment:

Marcy said...

You mentioned many of the exact reasons why I have no interest in giving birth in a hospital (unless it is deemed medically necessary, of course... but I don't forsee that happening). I don't want to have to fight mandatory hospital policies about having to use a fetal monitor, IV line, or anything else that's strapped on to my body. I don't want to deal with nurses I've just met and whether they agree with what I want in labor. I don't want to have to wait around for a doctor (I'd rather have a midwife who is with me from start to finish-- and for whom I won't need a birth plan b/c we'll have already talked about everything backwards and forwards and she'll know my wishes).

Did Brian go to any childbirth classes with you, or read the books you did? Have you considered signing the two of you up for a comprehensive course to prepare for this time around? I actually just came across this blog post last week, on the importance of properly preparing yourself for natural childbirth by taking a class together and how it greatly increases your chances of meeting your goal... seems timely:

I would also highly recommend reading Ina May Gaskin's books if you haven't already. I recently read "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and it is truly an incredible book. Have also heard great things about her book "Spiritual Midwifery." (And this means Brian, too, so you two can truly be on the same page about all this stuff.)

My midwife was a huge help to me in figuring out how best to deal with contractions during D's birth, but Zach's support -- both in wanting a natural, med-free birth as much as I did, and also in knowing what to do to help me in labor (and having spent the time with me beforehand to prepare for it)-- was also very, very important. I was surrounded by people who wanted the same things I did, and knew how to support me in that, and that support was invaluable.

I hope you're able to find that for your next birth, too. =)