Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thank you and a pic!

Thank you all so much for your positive and supportive comments about our desire to have a natural childbirth in a birthing center environment. Even you 100% disagree with my choice and think I am stark raving mad for even considering it, I never would have known from the comments. I have to admit, I was bracing myself for a full spectrum of comments and I am happy to say that everyone was completely respectful. A big thank you to all the lurkers who came out of lurkerdom to lend support, ask a question, share a story or cheer me on!

To answer the question about where I found the statistics on C-section and episiotomy rates, my midwife provided them, but said they are available online. I have not tried, but I imagine they are not easy to find. Our midwife also told us that you can request your OB's stats directly from them and they are required by law to provide them. I am sure they have stats on the hospitals where they deliver as well.

My biggest advice to any pregnant woman, regardless of what type of birth you would like to have, is to educate yourself about what will happen to you. Ask que
stions, be informed, know what your OB's policies and stats are. I had NO IDEA that I had almost 50% risk of having a c-section by delivering at my local hospital! That was just not acceptable to me and scared the crap out of me!

Speaking of fear, many of you commented that you are scared to death of pain and natural childbirth. Honestly, I am scared to death of induction (which is far more intense than naturally occurring contractions), being literally strapped to a bed by 16 different monitoring/medical devices, being paralyzed from the waist down (freaks me out beyond belief), having my vagina cut and/or having a C-Section . Those are the things that cause me major anxiety! Natural childbirth is far less intimidating to me.

I am currently reading
Pushed by Jennifer Block and I think it should be required reading for every woman long before she ever becomes pregnant. I am just blown away by the information in the book.

Ok, on to some fun stuff.

18w Summary

How am I feeling? Last week was my worst week in awhile. I got sick many times and had the pleasure of vomiting in public again. Sean & I had lunch at a local Mexican place and I thought I was keeping it simple by having soup and a cheese quesadilla, but apparently the baby did not agree. It was NOT pleasant and I was apologizing profusely to the other ladies who had the unfortunate luck of having to use the restroom at that moment.

How do I look? You be the judge! As promised, here is a long overdue belly pic.

This was taken at 18w exactly and according to my mother, I look exhausted. I think the belly looks huge and it is hard to believe that it has a lot more growing to do!

Milestones- I am definitely feeling the baby moving! It is the most wonderful feeling. I would describe it as a fish swimming, butterfly wings flapping or a thumping feeling depending on the movement. I feel Ralphie several times per day now and I can't wait until it gets stronger and Sean can feel it too!

What am I craving? Lots of peanut butter and eggs this week. I must need the protein!

Aversions? Apparently, Mexican food and I no longer get along. I don't think it is a coincidence that both times I have been sick in public, I have eaten Mexican food. I have not gone near chicken in months and don't plan to.

What do I miss? Really enjoying my food. I am apprehensive about eating many foods because I am afraid of getting sick. When something does taste good, (and it that is rare) I am only able to eat small portions as I get full very fast.

What am I looking forward to? Starting the nursery! Our plan is to order the furniture next weekend.

Weight gain - We will see what the OB's official scale says on Monday, but according to my scale, I am up 7lbs total since transfer, but only 2lbs since my 1st appt at 8w. I feel like I have lost weight in my face and the rest of my body, but my belly is absolutely growing and changing.

Discovery of the week? Amazon's Universal Registry!!! I am obsessed. I never knew this existed. I love that I can add any item from any website on the planet and have it on one registry. I have been able to register for a hard to find Graco pattern, cloth diapers, boutique items etc...We still plan to register at a local BRU for convenience, but I am in love with Amazon :)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Birthing Center

18 weeks tomorrow and I cannot believe it is July 22! Where is summer going? My pregnancy is flying by and I am almost at the halfway point. My next, and likely last, OB appointment is Monday morning.

Sean and I have made the decision to switch to a midwifery group in our area. We came to this conclusion after examining several factors. First, my OB is 45 min away and delivers at a hospital 1 hr away. The midwives are 10min away and give you the option to deliver at their birthing center or at a hospital which is 15min away from our home. Second, I get the vibe from my OB practice that they would not 100% respect my plan for a natural birth. At our very first appt, I asked about their views and the doc told me, "It's your choice, but just know that epidurals were invented by women for women. If you want to be in pain, I don't really care." Not exactly the level of support I was hoping for. They also deliver at a hospital that has one of the highest C-section rates in our area and has the reputation of being the place to go if you are "too posh to push." Finally, while most of our appts have been ok, I just don't feel a level of personal care from the group. At the midwifery group, I feel like you become part of a family, which is what I loved so much about my RE's practice.

At this point, I feel like it is time for a disclaimer. Birthing a child is a very personal decision and people have very strong feelings regarding the process. I am simply sharing my experiences and impressions. I am by no means trying to preach to anyone or convince anyone that my choice is the better one or pass judgement on one birth choice over another. I respect your childbirth choices and hope that you will respect mine.

Ever since I was a young woman, I have always desired a natural birth experience. Going through invasive fertility treatments only strengthened my desire to do so. My mom had me naturally, I have a sister in law who had an amazing home birth, and I feel like I have been exposed to many positive birth stories that have further convinced me that this is what I want. Since starting my 2nd trimester I have begun to read and research my options regarding natural childbirth. I read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth and although I found it a little difficult to relate to some of the birth stories in the beginning, the book really spoke to me and I learned a lot. In case you are wondering, my issue with some of the birth stories in the beginning is that I do not live on a commune and I didn't feel it was an accurate representation of how the modern woman in 2009 has a natural childbirth. Inspiring? Absolutely. In addition to the book, I joined a natural birth group online and began reading natural birth stories. All of this convinced me that I needed to explore options other than my OB's office, which led me to discover the midwives and their birthing center.

Sean & I toured the birthing center on Monday night and loved it. I wasn't sure how Sean felt going into it; I kinda thought he might just be humoring me, but in the end, he was 100% on board. There were 12 couples touring and that was exciting to me. One of the midwives spoke to us for over and hour and then opened the floor to questions before we toured the center. There are 3 midwives and an OB on staff and they are affiliated with our local hospital. Patients have a few options when they choose to become a patient of the practice. As long as you have a routine pregnancy, you can choose to deliver at the birthing center with the midwives. If it is more within your comfort level, you can deliver at the local hospital with the midwives. If you choose a hospital delivery, your midwife will stay by your side the entire time and work within hospital policies to accommodate your birth plan. The final possibility is if you are high risk in any way, you must deliver at the hospital. Again, your midwife will be at your side and help you achieve your goals and still have your high risk condition monitored in a hospital environment.

Ideally, as long as I continue to have a healthy, low risk pregnancy we would like to deliver at the birthing center, but I still have to sit down one on one with the midwives and make sure this is our best option.

Here are some highlights from our tour:
  • There are 3 birthing suites that look just like a master bedroom.
  • Each suite has a water birthing jacuzzi tub. YAY!
  • There is a full kitchen and there are no restrictions on mom being able to eat or drink during labor.
  • Mom is not required to have an IV during labor, but they are available in the event of dehydration.
  • No artificial means of induction (no pitocin, cytotec, cervadil etc...)
  • They will not rupture membranes.
  • Fetal monitoring only done with a doppler so Mom has full range of motion.
  • No time limit on labor.
  • Birthing chair, stool and ball available in each suite.
  • Fully equipped for emergencies (resuscitation equipment, oxygen, anti-hemorrhage meds etc...)
  • Right next to a fire station and an 8 min. ambulance ride to the hospital in the event of an emergency.
  • C-section rate of 8%, compared to 49% in the local hospital.
  • Episiotomies performed rarely - once or twice per year or less - compared to 79% of all vaginal deliveries at the local hospital.
  • Cord is allowed to pulsate for 5 min. before cutting.
  • Baby is not removed from Mom until Mom is ready - most babies bond with mom and dad for about 2 hours before they are removed in anyway.
  • You can go home within 4hrs of delivery if you have showered, peed and eaten.
  • No limit on the number of family and friends that can be present.
  • You can change your mind and head to the hospital at any point.
Overall, we felt their philosophy matched up well with ours. Whether we deliver in the birthing center or at the hospital, I believe we will have an experience that we will be happy with. I am not naive enough to believe that complications cannot arise, but I feel 100% comfortable and confident that we will be in good hands.

If you have had a natural birth or a birthing center delivery, I would love to hear more about your experiences!

Monday, July 13, 2009

So much to say

I know, I know, I disappeared again and for a long time. I am so sorry! On an almost daily basis I think about something to blog about, but I never actually sit down to write. I want to, I really do!

We have been pretty busy this summer - weddings, parties, cookouts, traveling to Buffalo etc... We spent the holiday weekend in Buffalo celebrating our Goddaughters' birthday parties and attending a family reunion on my Dad's side. It was a great trip and a wonderful reminder of how much love and support is awaiting this baby. We received some adorable baby gifts. My mom bought some super cute sleepers and onesies and my aunt from Ireland knitted a beautiful blanket and hat. It was exciting to get our first gifts!!! My mom also won one of those small, Fl.ip video cameras at a golf tournament and she gave it to Sean as a Father's Day gift. It is so cool! It is an HD video camera that is the size of a digital camera. Perfect for posting cute videos of the baby! All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and reinforced to us that Buffalo is where we want to raise our family.

Our plan is still to move back home and we are thinking it might be a possibility in about a year or so, but it really depends on Sean's new job and whether or not they can work out way from him to telecommute. Now that my mom is awaiting the birth of her first (and possibly only) grandchild she is anxious for us to come home, or else she said she might have to move here! That would be incredible, but we ultimately want to be back in Buffalo with our entire family.

Speaking of the grandparents, my mom, step dad and Sean's parents have booked their flights to come down for Ralphie's birth!!! Even though it is still months down the line, my Christmas Eve due date really complicates travel arrangements. Sou.thwest had $49 flights and they book really fast due to the holiday, so when they saw available, cheap flights they booked them. They are all going to arrive on 12/23 - one day before my EDD. My in laws are planning to stay one week and my parents are staying two. There is really no way to predict if the baby will come early, late or right on time. We figured at least, they have their tickets and if I go early, they can always exchange them. If I go late, they are already here to celebrate the holiday and if I am right on time - even better! Driving really wasn't an option because Sean's mom hates traveling by car (the women has panic attacks in the car for 20mins, let alone 7 hours) and the weather in December is too unpredictable going through those mountains in PA. I wasn't crazy about my mom driving like a maniac trying to make it in time & running the risk of missing the birth all together if I went fast, they hit bad weather etc... I feel better knowing they have a plan!

In other baby news, Sean & I have started really thinking about our major baby purchases. We spent all day Saturday at Great Beginnings (rated as one of the best baby stores in the country by B.aby Bargains) near DC and it was so much fun. Overwhelming, but fun. The place is HUGE! The furniture showroom was incredible - they must have had 75 nursery sets on the floor. Every name brand and some hard to find ones too. We have narrowed our furniture choices down to two and hope to order in the next two weeks. The salespeople were incredible. They were truly experts in their field. Looking at car seats and strollers was like shopping for a new car - the salespeople were that knowledgeable about the products. Getting close to making a decision there to - I am thinking stroller frame and either the Snugride or Chi.cco Keyfit. After seeing the installation demo in store, I am leaning more towards the keyfit at this point. Gender neutral bedding is proving to be difficult and I have a possibility in mind, but want to go look at fabric as well. We are going to register right after our big u/s in a few weeks!

My family has booked my shower for October 25th and it feels like that is going to be here before we know it! I feel like time is flying by now that I am in the 2nd tri and there is so much to do to get ready for this little one's arrival. I can't wait to start pulling it all together!

I am officially 16w4d pregnant and here is a recent rundown.

How am I feeling? Still vomiting. It is less frequent - only once a week or so now, but I wish it would stop for good. I feel like I have more energy, but can still sleep like a champ. I am finally off progesterone and estr.ace and am having massive mood swings. I am not sure if it has anything to do with being off the meds, or if it is just pregnancy, but it has hit me hard. I have been pretty even keeled up until the past few days and now my hormones are all over the place. Mad, sad, angry, happy, giddy...all in the span of a few minutes. Poor Sean!

How do I look? Pregnant. Perhaps I will post a belly pic in coming weeks. My family was surprised how much my belly had changed since Memorial day weekend. I don't feel like my body is changing anywhere else - just a round belly and bigger boobs.

Milestones? I *think* I may have felt movement a few days ago, but I cannot be sure. I was sound asleep and had been laying on my right side for about 6 hours straight. I was just stirring because I had to pee and roll over. As a rolled over to my left side, it felt like something did a huge somersault in my belly. My eyes flew wide open and my hand went right to my belly. I have never felt anything like it, but I haven't felt it since either, so I am really not sure. I am anxious to feel movement more frequently though!

What is Ralphie up to? Growing so big and strong! He or she is the size of an avocado - far cry from my little poppy seed - and weighs almost 4oz. He or she is urinating, has taste buds, is hiccuping, may be sucking its thumb and moving like crazy.

What am I craving? Potbelly Italian Sandwiches - YUM! Subway Veggie Subs.

Aversions? Chicken

What do I miss? Wine. A perfectly chilled glass of white wine on a hot summer's night. A rich pinot noir with a steak fresh off the grill.

What am I looking forward to? More movement, registering, ordering the furniture, and starting the nursery.

Weight gain? Officially, just 1lb. That is according to my OBs scale, but I did not have my first appt with them until 8w and between 4-8w I gained 3-4 lbs. So, unofficially, I am up closer to 5lbs, both me and my OB are fine with it.

What am I reading? What to Expect..., Your Preg. Week by Week, Bab.y Bargains, and Ina May's Guide to Chi.ldbirth.

Speaking of Ina May's book, although I like my OB practice, I am planning on touring a birthing center in the next few weeks. I have always wanted to experience natural childbirth and based on a few of the docs comments, I am not sure how supportive they would be. Additionally, Sean is concerned about how far my OB and the hospital is - almost in hour in no traffic and good weather. The birthing center and the hospital they are affiliated with are only 15 minutes away. I am planning a more detailed post on this topic in the future.

I think that wraps things up - sorry so long, this what happens when it has been 3 weeks since I last updated! Oh! One last thing, please stop by Meinsideout's blog and wish her HUGE congratulations! She is one of the biggest cheerleaders in the blogosphere and she has good news to share. She could also use thoughts, prayers and good vibes that this is her sticky miracle.