Tuesday, June 30, 2009

19 weeks

Over the weekend Javier and I were lucky enough to attend a lecture by Ina May Gaskin (according to Wikipedia - Ina May Gaskin is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), who has been described as "the mother of authentic midwifery.") She is well-known throughout the world and is author to two well-known books: "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and "Spiritual Midwifery". She's kind of the ultimate hippie. In 1971 she and her husband founded a famous international community know as "The Farm" in Summertown, Tennessee. There, she and the midwives of the Farm created one of the first out-of-hospital birth centers in the United States. The Farm is still birthing babies and their statistics for successful and beautiful births are incredible (http://www.inamay.com/statistics.php).

I'm currently reading "Ina May's Guide to Childbrith" and the entire first half of the book is birth story after birth story told by various mothers who went to the Farm to have their babies. I believe the purpose of reading these stories is to hear the emotions and the feelings of all these women and to read/see that all births are different. Some are fast, some are slow and there is everything in between. It's also fascinating to read about how different women handle the "rushes" and all the techniques used to get the labor going. I've learned a lot just from reading the various stories and I also feel empowered. I know I can do this too!

Hearing Ina May in person was great for many reasons, one of which is that she had the best analogies! She asked how many women in the room had had a baby before and several raised their hands. Then she asked them how it feels when the babies head is about to come down, and there was a collective murmur in the room, "it feels like you're pooping." So then she asked all the men in the room, "Men, if you were about to poop the biggest turd of your life (approx 7 - 10 pounds) and you had to do it in a brightly lit room with a bunch of strange men looking at your crotch, do you think you could be successful?" I thought it was hilarious, but the point is that women are not set up for success at the hospital. She talked a lot about how other mammals give birth and most all mammals go away into privacy to have their little ones, and that women need this same type of privacy and security to have the optimal chance of success. It makes a lot of sense to me, but I find myself still battling with people who dont understand my point of view. Birthing is a NORMAL process and women are designed for it and most of us can do it! But drugging us up and using one intervention technique after another generally makes things worse not better.

I came into work on Monday to hear a close coworker friend of mine tell me about her daughter's delivery of her grandson that occurred over the weekend. Her daughter has had a beautiful pregnancy, no problems at all. She is a young 22 year old and she went into labor early Saturday morning and they headed straight to the hospital. There she walked all around the hospital to help speed up the labor. Okay, this is where she wanted to be, but not me! I want to be walking around by the beach or on nearby preservation land. I dont think walking around a hospital is going to make me feel good or positive in any way. Once she got herself dialated to about 9 centimeters they gave her the epidural and put her feet in stirrups. Well, after hours of labor she was unable to get the baby down .... But what could one expect since she was numb, in stirrups and unable to move the lower half of her body. Many times with big babies women need to be able to move all around into various positions to widen the pelvic area. After 22 hours of labor she ended up with a Cesarean Section and feeling like a failure. The story was heartbreaking for me. This was the last type of story I wanted to hear as I'd been closely following the girl's pregnancy. It was right after hearing this story on Monday and coming from the Ina May Gaskin lecture over the weekend that I have made a final decision to have a home birth if possible. I do not want to be in that situation. I hope to receive support from my family because this is a decision that I have made with a TON of research, FACTs and statistics. It's also important for everyone to know that the midwives are wise and not in a position to set themselves up for an emergency. They do not let you give birth at home if you are in some sort of danger. I'm hoping for a water birth so that me and the baby will be cozy and comfortable!

Tomorrow we find out the sex. I'm ecstatic and although I really should not say this, I have strong feelings there is a little boy living in my belly so if they tell me it is a girl I will be shocked. I'm so happy to be having a baby that it truly doesnt matter if it is a boy or a girl, but I need to document that I have strong feelings that it is a baby boy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

18 weeks

Hum, what happened to my 17-week photos? Can anyone else see them? I think I'm getting to the point where I should take weekly photos anyhow. I certainly feel like I am growing by the day!

Javier and I had a regular scheduled doctor's appointment yesterday. When we have the Sansum appointments we rotate around so that we can meet all the doctors because you have no idea who will be there to deliver. Yesterday we met a young doctor, Karen Craig. Dr. Craig has recently moved to Santa Barbara from Nebraska. It was interesting to hear her perspective. I had mentioned to her that I am interested in touring the hospital soon so that I can see the birthing rooms in order to make a decision about a home birth vs. hospital birth. She said very matter of factly that the rooms here are out of date and especially compared to Nebraska. She mentioned that in Nebraska all rooms have big laboring tubs and at Cottage there is only a shower. In general Santa Barbara just doesnt have the money they have in the midwest, she reported. It was interesting to hear her perspective.

But the good news is the appointment went well. I've gained 6.5 pounds and we heard the babies strong heartbeat, which is always so reassuring! We find out the sex of the little one on July 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Week 17

Javier and I met with Dr. Green yesterday. It was definitely different being in a "private practice" office vs. the public clinic approach I have with Sansum. The wait was much longer, all the ladies in the office were so much nicer and happier so I didnt mind. I was kind of afraid about Dr. Green being so old (he's 73), but when we met him he has a much younger appearance and he is really with it. It was pretty much a consult visit and he definitely spent the time just answering our questions. I found him to be EXTREMELY helpful. He gave us a lot of insight into the hospital birth process. No matter which doctor we choose (if we choose a doctor over a homebirth midwife) we will deliver at the only hospital in Santa Barbara where babies are delivered, Cottage. So he was very insightful. We learned that once you check in there they assign one nurse to you personally. This is a good thing, but you still have to think about them changing as they will on their shifts. If we go with Green or Ramos (private practice doctors) they will more than likely attend the birth whereas if we stay with Sansum we will be subject to the doctor who is on call at the time we're ready to push. But Dr. Green says that the nursing staff at Cottage has learned a great deal in the very recent years about approaching childbirth as a more natural process. Historically Cottage is where the high-risk deliveries were and there was another hospital/birthing center in town where the normal prenancies went. That birthing center has since closed down so the nurses who were there are now at Cottage which has been a fantastic thing according to Green.

I need to post some new photos soon. I'm blowing up ;-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

16 weeks

I rescheduled the appointment with Dr. Green. I was supposed to meet with him on Monday, but on top of a busy schedule Monday, figured it would be better to wait for Javier's return. I did, however, meet with another midwife, Anna Bunting, on Tuesday. I went to her house and I really enjoyed her. I liked her energy a lot and she excited me again about the thought and possibility of a home birth. Now the question is is it worth dropping my current doctors if I plan to do the home birth? They would only be in place as back up so maybe it's not worth the switch? Oh, and the midwife thinks I am a week further along than the doctors think I am. So according to her I'm 17 weeks ... I'll just try to be ready a few weeks early!

I really do just want to make a decision and move forward! But I need to make and informed and intentional decision. The fact that "most" people do hospital births does make it a little more comfortable, but I would be on top of the world if we had our baby at home. What an accomplishment and what an amazing entrance for Baby Muslera.

The Art of Joyful Living workshop was great! I got all kinds of tools to help get out of negative thought patterns. The idea is that we really can manipulate our reality by our thinking and our energy. Really cool stuff and a lot of fun! Totally California ;-).

An old friend of mine is in town from Atlanta. She was over for dinner last night and insisted we do the "ring test" to find out if I'm having a boy or girl. This test, which we completed twice, says we will be having a girl. Controversy is heating up - acupuncture test says boy, ring test says girl ;-)! We'll find out on July 1!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lots going on

So at this point I've been on pursuit. Pursuit of knowledge of all types (pregnancy, nutrition, baby soothing techniques, birthing, yoga, chanting, you name it!) and also to sort out in my head and my gut exactly what type of care I am seeking throughout my first pregnancy. It's a little difficult for me to even write about at this point because it's been in my head and such a topic of late that I'm a bit sick of it. BUT the great news is next week I have an appointment with a new doctor, Dr. Green, on Monday. Here is an article from the Santa Barbara Independent which features him as a local hero:

Dr. Ralph Green has blessed Santa Barbara women and families with personalized childbirth experiences for the last 39 years. With the skills of an obstetrician but the inclusive philosophy of a midwife, Dr. Green has eased thousands of Santa Barbara babies into the world since 1967 (he lost count at 5,000 births 10 years ago). Many women who feel dissatisfied with traditional prenatal care are recommended to Dr. Green — who, in turn, recommend him to others. At 70, he works at least 60 hours a week, sometimes sleeping at the hospital to ensure he doesn’t miss a birth.
Dr. Green’s loving smile and calm manner set his patients at ease, even throughout the most trying birth experiences. In order to be responsive to what “the individual desires out of birth,” Dr. Green aims to forge connections with his patients early on in the pregnancy, which helps him intuit potential problems and plan accordingly. Dr. Green also encourages his patients to have a doula — a woman experienced in childbirth who cares for the mother-to-be — present during the birth so that they are not “at the mercy of an attendant they have never met before.”
According to midwife Mary Jackson, Dr. Green is one of the few OBs who “view childbirth from the perspective of trusting in the process.” Part of this trust plays out in Dr. Green’s refusal to do routine episiotomies or to rush births. In an age where immediacy and anonymity seem valued over experience, Santa Barbara is fortunate to have a doctor who welcomes new life into the world at its own pace and in its own way.

Our meeting with Mary Jackson at home actually kind of made me feel like that perhaps we're not ready for a home birth at this point. It's absolutely the more complicated way to go, even though it is meant to be the simplest. It's complicated with insurance and can be complicated by the myriad of potential, although unlikely, possible scenarios that might occur during a pregnancy. Just a lot to think about. Again, ideally I'd be in a birthing center, but here in Santa Barbara that is not possible yet, so for the time being I'm looking forward to meeting with Dr. Green on Monday. If I like him, I'll make the switch over to his care and will hopefully be able to relax. For a little more insight on my current thoughts ... I'm seeing a doctor who is part of a "group". I have to meet all of the various doctors in the group because I have no idea who will be on call at the time of my labor. Basically I feel like I'm just in this system. It's not really personalized at all, and I just want a little more.

In other goings-on: I'm busy all day tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday with a retreat, The Art of Joyful Living. It is being conducted by an esteemed life coach team, Roger and Kim Vincent. What lead me here? I want to figure out how to maximize joy and my life purpose. Right now with work, the radio, volunteering to the Junior League, juggling marriage and a social life as well, I am often exhausted and not left with much to give. As I will become a mother soon, I figure I'll need a bit of a paradigm shift in my life. I always love to learn about myself and others and am constantly seeking ways to improve so this is right up my alley. I'm looking forward to it, but it won't leave me with much relaxation time this weekend ;-).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

photos 15 weeks

These photos are kind of cheating because they were taken super late at night on Sunday night after a huge dinner ;-)

15 weeks

So here we are. We've reached 15 weeks. I feel good, really good. I feel happy and finally have some of my standard energy back - YEAH - and also to have a relatively normal appetite. There is definitely a difference in how I feel now that I've reached the "second trimester". Also, I think the reality is setting in more and it just continues to feel more exciting. We're still far enough away to not have that super reality feeling (like OH CRAP), but we're far enough into it to be super excited.

We met with Mary Jackson yesterday. She came to our home for a 30 minute visit. She used the time to tell us about her, her training, her philosophy, the risks and the reality of home birth. I enjoyed hearing all of this and her story is definitely amazing. I have no doubt that she has more experience than any doctor here in SB with births, but I have to say when she left I just wasn't 100% convinced that this is the way we should go. I'm still exploring options. I would prefer to take a tour of the hospital soon too, to determine how I like the birthing rooms they have. The good news is that Javier's insurance covers 70% of the midwife's fees. That's really good considering my insurance would cover zip for the midwife. We're definitely not decided on anything yet and will still keep open minds and listen to our (well, my) gut!

I'm really enjoying the prenatal yoga with Siddhi. She's great and the exercises are wonderful too. They're pretty challenging and they are not things that I have done before for the most part. I'm still running a bit and am trying to plan more walks with friends. Santa Barbara is a lovely place for being outside... even in gloomy June, which I personally LOVE.

I've got a new trick and with it today I am using some of the jeans I haven't been able to wear in some time. It's a hair band trick and it's working today, and maybe for the next month, but I don't see that it is going to last too much longer! I'm popping out. We took a couple of photos on Sunday evening which I will post very soon.