Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baby I Week 22: Labor & Delivery Decisions

22 Weeks... almost 6 months! That's a number I'm really excited about, 6 months. I will have been pregnant for half a year. Crazy right? So Milo kicks pretty much through the night. It's nothing I can't sleep through, but every time I do wake up, he's moving around. I only feel him really low, I guess because that's where his feet are right now. It's neat, but I have a feeling I'm going to be in for sleepless nights when he is born since he is so active at night.

This is a long one, hope you can handle it! I did bold words so if you want to pick and choose through the paragraphs, you can see what each one is about easily. You are welcome. As always, I'm very interested in everyone's input and advice!!!! Thanks Michelle for the Pepcid tip last week, it's been a life saver! May seem weird, but I've made a lot of decisions off of what you all have shared on facebook! Thanks!

So this last week there was a baby show marathon on TLC (or maybe Discovery Health), and I watched every show. Now I've been watching these birth shows for several years now... building up my tolerance to the grosser aspects of delivery. I've watched lots of heads pop out, and screaming moms, and c-sections (usually safely hidden behind a blanket). In case you watch these shows too, the shows I follow are Deliver Me, A Baby Story, Birth Day, and The Baby Lab. Yes they are just shows, but I do feel like I've gotten a really accurate portrait into many different kinds of labor and delivery. Anyhow, after my marathon this week I did freak myself out!

There is a really good chance that I will have a very big baby. Anything over 8 pounds, 13 ounces is considered to be a Macrosomic newborn... I weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces, delivered naturally. Because I was a large baby, there is a very good chance that I will also have a big baby, so though none of this may even end up being important, I want to go over all my options thoroughly. There are a lot of ways that doctors intervene during delivery to help deliver a large baby, and I really don't want any of them!

In my birth plan, I have put that I adamantly do not want a C-section unless my life or Milo's life is in serious jeopardy. I have watched a lot of C-sections on TV, and every single one seems horribly sad. The mother has her arms strapped down, has to listen to all the horrible sounds of surgery and really has no part in bringing this life into the world, something that I think is so amazing. Pushing out a baby is something no one can help you with, at that moment, it's all on you. I would hate to miss that. I've also heard tons of C-section horror stories of having chills, shakes, not being able to breath, panicking. I just hate the idea and though I completely understand sometimes its completely unavoidable, when I hear of women electing to have them for no reason, I'm disgusted.

So what else. Well my labor could be induced to get the baby out sooner, which at first I thought sounded like a great option. However, being induced comes with a lot of risks. First off, first time mothers have twice the likelihood of needing a C-section when being induced instead of allowing them to go into spontaneous labor. The methods used can also cause uterine hyperstimulation, and those much stronger, quicker contractions can lead to fetal distress. Also when you induce, there is a greater chance that the doctor will need to use forceps or a vacuum and then THAT means an almost for sure episiotomy which I REALLY don't want!

So yeah that was my obsession for the week! I spent hours reading horror stories from BOTH sides. Stories of having to break mom's hips and baby's collar bone from those opposing natural birth, and ruptured uterus's and emergency c-sections on the side against medical intervention. After all this, I actually feel really good... lol... I think in the end, natural wins, and it's what we have decided to go with.

Going over all of this was necessary to help us choose what birth class and method would work for us. When I learn about ANYTHING I start completely open minded and in a very genuine pursuit of the truth. However, when I feel like I have achieved that truth, I am not easily intimidated away from it without substantial evidance. The way in which you choose to have your baby is a very personal and emotional decision, and like one might do with their religion, most defend this choice viciously. So, I knew if I went into a class where the philosophy did not mesh well with mine and Eric's, I'd be vibrating with frustration. Many of these classes encourage a drug free approach to labor and delivery, which is great, and I plan to attempt it. However, the more I read about two of the most popular methods: Lamaze and Bradley Method, the more I hear of judgemental teachers with grossly outdated information and statistics. Both of these methods were developed in the 1940's, in the age of what Dr. Bradley refers to as "drug them up and drag them out" obstetrics. Those WERE scary times, but technology has changed a lot, so why the same old fear mongering? I can't answer that. There are many drugs and methods that are no longer in use, and others that have been greatly improved.

For example, the only epidural stories I heard for a long time were frustrating tales of women being told to push but unable to feel anything, babies that were lethargic, and of overall disappointment and regret over the situation. I heard this a lot. However after watching a lot of women give birth with an epidural, I learned that things are not the same today. Women have more control over the strength of their epidural, and can often still feel the contractions and the urge to push, but without the sharp pains of labor. Women can get what is called a walking epidural, where the woman still has feeling in her legs and muscle strength, so she can actually still walk around and is better able to participate in the birth. I still want to try to go without an epidural, however if I change my mind I will not be the least bit guilty over my decision, because I know how safe they are today.

So, I decided against attending a formal class, and I will research and practice the method I've chosen on my own. I kinda knew all along that when it came to having a plan to cope with the pain of labor, I would choose the Bradley Method. Lamaze teaches distraction techniques which I do not feel are effective. When you are in the throws of the most excruciating pain of you life, I can't imagine going back to a happy memory will cut it! The Bradley Method's coping techniques seem far more realistic and effective, but more importantly, Dr. Bradley advocates a husband coached childbirth which I feel is essential. I knew that Eric would be my primary source of encouragement, comfort, and strength in labor. When I see a woman who chooses a friend, mother, or sister as their coach I always question the strength of their relationship with their husband, the "why's" are endless. You shouldn't trust anyone more than your husband, and you worked together to make this child, and you will rely on eachother and have to work with eachother to raise it, why should the birth be any different? So Eric may be thrilled with getting to skip classes, but he has some big books coming for him that he gets to read in preparation... but even without them I'm sure he will do amazingly... because that's just him :)

God that was long, but there is a lot to think about! Some people have told me I know too much now, birth is going to be harder because I know what can go wrong, but love that I can fully weigh the pros and cons of all my decisions in the delivery room. I can't wait to see how all this pans out!

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