Category : Pregnancy

Personal Posts Pregnancy

Is Your Spouse/Significant Other Weirded Out by Any Pregnancy Oddities?

My husband is actually really squeamish, but he has done well with all the freaky weird stuff that comes along with pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and the like.

He didn’t bat an eyelash at the grotesque swelling, insane weight gain or the loud belches that seem to sneak up on unsuspecting pregnant women (not that I burp or have gas of any kind, tee-hee!) He didn’t seem bothered by the leaking, engorged chesticles, or the comically large nips that went along with them, nor any of the other many fluids that are part of the childbirth package.

I know at some point during or after each child’s birth, he wanted to say “OMG nasty,” hurl, pass out, or all three. Fortunately, he is smart enough to have done none of the above. Amazingly, he mentioned after my son’s birth that he saw the placenta and almost took a picture of it (still a a little mad at him for not taking a pic!!) and I was really surprised that his ears didn’t start ringing & the room didn’t start spinning when he saw it!

So what did he think was beyond bizarre? My belly button. Yep, the good old belly b. My button has never completely popped out, but a few weeks ago, I pointed out that it seemed like it was trying to. It almost had a lip at the top where it was starting to turn inside out (now it’s about 25% inside out, LOL)

I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it cracked me up. It was along the lines of “I should not be able to see the inside of your belly button. That’s unnatural and just plain wrong.”

Seriously, he seemed genuinely disturbed by this development. Not that he’s exactly in the running for the belly button of the year award either. He had an emergency surgery about 15 years ago that left him with a large, zipper-like scar down his entire abdomen. So yeah, he’s not going to be getting belly button model job offers any time soon either!

How about you? Does something about pregnancy creep your partner (or you!) out?

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Birth Home Birth Personal Posts Pregnancy

My Journey to Homebirth

My journey to home birth has really been a long one. I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I’ll start at the beginning. (Cue Sound of Music soundtrack.)

At some point, I will tell the birth stories for my the two children already in my arms, but for the sake of keeping this post short enough to be readable, I’ll tell abbreviated versions.

When I became pregnant with my daughter in 2004, I wanted a natural birth. I envisioned giving birth in a birth center with a midwife. I was not incredibly “mainstream” but compared to where I am today, I really was. I had been brainwashed like many, and never would have considered home birth. Scary! Dangerous! OMG! Even though I was low risk, and the perfect candidate for home birth, I do not think I would have been successful. I just wasn’t there yet.

Anyhoo, I found an OB practice that I’d heard good things about, and who had many midwives on their roster. I called and was told that “midwives do not deliver babies in Maryland.” I took that as fact, and let that idea go. In fact, Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) who are licensed and backed by an OB can deliver babies in Maryland. This particular practice just chooses not to take on that liability/malpractice premium.

Around that time, an acquaintance (I “met” her because she worked with my Mom actually) gave birth at home, with an unlicensed Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). I later learned that Maryland simply doesn’t license CPMs or Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs) but at the time “unlicensed” in my mind=untrained and unqualified. I was so, so terribly wrong and I feel stupid for ever thinking this way, but it sure seemed dangerous and foolish to ignorant little me.

Long story short, I bought the hospital ticket and I sure did get the hospital ride. Though I emerged with few physical injuries, the emotional scars from my prenatal and birth “care” are with me almost 7 years later. I was bullied, belittled, intimidated, invalidated and treated like a number, a slab of meat, a “patient…” something (not someone) that didn’t matter at every turn. There were precious few moments from start to finish that I felt like I mattered in any way.

For a long time I felt like a failure, and I was grateful for the doctor, and for being in the hospital. It took years for me to realize that my biggest mistake was to go the the hospital in the first place. I didn’t fail myself or my daughter rather, I was failed by the system. I was in no position to stand up for myself. Even the strongest woman will have difficulty fighting “hospital policy” when she’s in labor. I still feel ill when I think about the ways in which I was held down and violated while I screamed (while being told to stop, be still, do what the doctor says, basically be a good girl) with my husband right there, unable to protect me (or even know that he should.) To many, my experience just doesn’t matter. My daughter was healthy, and what happened to me happens to women every day anyway.

I learned a lot between my daughter’s birth and my son’s birth, and by the time I was pregnant with him, I really wanted a home birth. I still wasn’t ready though. While home birth isn’t illegal, it would be illegal for the midwife attending me. I am a rule follower, and that really scared me. I saw the same OB throughout my pregnancy, visiting with others just once (so I would have met everyone prior to D-Day) and I really loved her. Still do. If she attended home births, I would gladly welcome her. She is just great and I really lucked out that she was on call when I went into labor.

I went into this birth very pessimistic, and afraid of feeling like a failure again, so I had very few expectations. I stayed home as long as possible, and ended up giving birth within about 3 or 3 1/2 hours of arriving at the hospital. I had 3 cervical checks that I didn’t want, intermittent monitoring that I didn’t want, and an IV, all according to “hospital policy.” While I realize that you can legally refuse these things, that’s really easier said than done. I did manage to give birth sans medication aside from GBS antibiotics (which I could write a whole post on!) and pitocin after birth (which I didn’t consent to and didn’t know I had until I requested my records this year).

All in all, I was pretty happy with the birth, and I did feel it was a somewhat healing birth. I even had an easier time bonding with my son. Even so, there were so many things that bothered me about the birth. Rather than listing those things, I’ll list the things I’m looking forward to about home birth (this may get long):

  • No unnecessary interventions, and no need to fight against them.  No trying desperately to stay still during a contraction so the monitors wouldn’t move, losing the HB, making it look like there was trouble & leading to more monitoring.  No hands or objects shoved in me.  No being forced on my back to do it, which was the most painful position for me. No being told this is what we’re doing (if they even did that much). What happened to informed consent?
  • No being grilled with incessant questions while trying to cope with contractions.
  • No transition to the hospital ( or back to the “real world” with life with a new baby for that matter.
  • No feeling inhibited by strangers’ presence, no half dozen people filtering in the room while I’m pushing, unaware that they are there.
  • Ability to eat and drink what I want and use the bathroom when I want.
  • Move/walk/go wherever I want.
  • No artificial time constraints on any stage of labor.
  • Make whatever sounds I want without inhibition.
  • Push in whatever position I want to without any argument or battles.
  • Finally, I won’t be the 3rd+ person to touch my baby and the absolute last person in the room to know the baby’s gender.
  • Ability to bond with the baby however I want (touching, talking etc.) without feeling funny/inhibited by what I say/how I say it in front of strangers.
  • No baring my body in front of strangers to nurse, be “checked” or attempting to use the bathroom on command after delivery.
  • Baby won’t be taken away from me.  Supposedly you have the “right” for that not to happen, but it’s easier said than done for hearing checks etc.
  • No fear of procedures or treatments (or bottles or pacis) being given without my permission.
  • No being bullied into giving formula.
  • No being woken as soon as I fall asleep for BP, temp etc.  That’s when the baby and I both aren’t being woken to check baby!
  • Sleep in my own bed.  Nuff said.
  • Shower in my own shower with decent water pressure and a towel bigger than a washcloth.  (WTF are they thinking giving postpartum women such tiny azz towels??)
  • Wear whatever clothing I want, whenever I want.
  • No issues with cloth diapering from birth.
  • Complete access to my own house.  My own food, my own couch, my own stuff, my own comfort zone.
  • I control the lights and thermostat!
  • No waiting for “visiting hours” for my  children to meet the baby.
  • No unfamiliar/possibly resistant bacteria exposure.
  • Many, many more things that are slipping my mind at the moment!

I think that hospitals do have a place in some births, and I am incredibly grateful for medical intervention when necessary. In fact, I think not being comfortable with home birth, or not being “there yet” are valid reasons to have a hospital birth.  I truly, truly believe in the fear/pain/tension cycle and I think that if you fear home birth, it’s not for you. (Though I am the perfect example of doing a 180 after educating myself.)

I wanted to share a few of the books I read on my way to where I am today (which is pretty “far out there” as far as birth hippies go, LOL!)  They are Amazon affiliate links when available, so I would receive a small commission if you clicked through and bought.  I was able to find most at my local library, or through inter-library loan.

Spiritual Midwifery

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic and Birth

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation

Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth (Import)

Expecting Trouble: What Expectant Parents Should Know About Prenatal Care in America

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First
(if I had to choose just ONE book as a favorite, must read, this would be it.)

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth

Natural Birth: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding

Heart and Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition)

Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank

The Doctors’ Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis (Great Discoveries)

Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America, Expanded Edition

Emergency Childbirth: A Manual

Birth Emergency Skills Training: Manual for Out -of- Hospital Midwives

Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America

Male Practice

Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Unassisted Childbirth

Body, Soul, and Baby: A Doctor’s Guide to the Complete Pregnancy Experience, From Preconception to Postpartum

I know this isn’t all of them, I just can’t remember them all!

There are a few other books on my list that I haven’t been able to find at the library, so I am considering buying the e-book versions:

Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature

Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience

Birthing the Easy Way By Someone Who Learned the Hard Way

Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love

I have also been active in natural childbirth groups, and have read countless birth stories. Good and bad, blissful and catastrophic. Watched countless birth videos and read every medical study I could get my hands on. I’ve familiarized myself with complications possible during every stage, and have taken full responsibility for my care.

Naturally, we watched the requisite The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America also!

Needless to say, I didn’t make this decision on a whim, and I am very grateful to have an intelligent husband, who can listen to and understand the facts, and who supports me fully. He was a little bit slower to move over to the home birth side, but he was able to have reasonable conversations with me, express his concerns, and allow me to do additional research for him to allay his fears.

I do hope to share my birth stories at some point. However, it wasn’t a bad hospital birth that “drove me to home birth.” I truly, completely believe that home birth is the safest, best choice for me and my family. My previous births definitely did play a role in my trip to where I am now. Would I go back and have a home birth with my first child? I don’t know. Maybe if I knew then, all that I know now. Otherwise, no. I don’t think I would have succeeded because I wasn’t ready.

Read my home birth story.

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Personal Posts Pregnancy

For a Pregnant Chick, I Sure Have an Interesting “Night Life”

In fact, just Friday night I was hobnobbing with Prince William & Princess whats-her-face. I don’t recall what was said, but apparently they found me quite fascinating.

OK, so this happened in my dream world, in between tossing & turning, sweating, scratching my itchy pregnant skin, and numerous bathroom trips. I tend to have wacky dreams, but hello pregnancy hormones. I have some of the most vivid, realistic (and strange) dreams ever.

So realistic in fact that one night I woke up and nearly clobbered my hubby. I was awake for several minutes and it still seemed real, and I gave him the hairy eyeball the rest of the day!

One of the weirdest dreams I had was a recurring dream I had when I was pregnant with my son. I would suddenly go from being pregnant to having a baby, but I didn’t have anything I needed. I had to try to get to the store without a car seat to get the things I needed. I’d walk to the store carrying the baby, and when I got there, I’d realize I wasn’t wearing any shoes. Just as I found the things I needed, the baby would turn into a shoe, and I’d try to slink out of store unnoticed, carrying the shoe. That dream stopped once we got the car seat installed and got a few other things ready. So, the significance of that one is fairly clear…except for the shoe part. I guess I need to Google the meaning of shoe dreams!

I also had a lot of dreams where I’d had the baby and a lot of people were visiting. I’d go hours without seeing the baby & find out someone gave it a bottle and I’d get all furious George about it. I also couldn’t seem to remember the baby’s name or whether it was a boy or a girl. My friend thinks that we’re our own best dream interpreters, and she’s right. I’m pretty sure that was me expressing my concerns over unwanted visitors and meddling family.

I’ve had a “surprise, it’s twins!” dream this pregnancy, and when I tweeted about it, @Momofthreeunder replied that she’d had the same dream…then had them about 2 years later. *gulp*

So am I alone here? Do you have weird dreams (pregnancy induced or not?) Care to share any particularly interesting ones?

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Personal Posts Pregnancy

Pregnancy Hormones Make Me Crazy or Why I Shouldn’t be Allowed in Public

So, I’m trying something new by writing some personal stuff. We’ll see how it goes. If no one reads/comments, or if comments are mean, I might change my mind! I figured Wednesday would be a good day for it; What’s on my Mind Wednesday or what have you. 🙂

Now, I am normally totally non-confrontational and take a “kill ’em with kindness” approach. However, that pregnancy “glow” you see is actually rage simmering under the surface of my skin. I just don’t do pregnancy well and I’m surprised my husband puts up with me, LOL.

When I’m driving, I stay in the right lane with my cruise control on for the most part. I stay out of people’s way and just shake my head when the person who nearly ran me down ends up beside me at a stoplight 10 minutes later. I’m always telling my husband not to get worked up about traffic or idiot drivers because all it will do is raise his blood pressure and send him to an early grave!

Yet, when pregnant, I find myself thinking “OMG! I’m braking…up…hill. Go already! EAUUUGGHHH!” People who can’t pick a speed and mess up my cruise control/gas mileage make me want to tear my hair out. When someone backed out of a parking spot without looking and nearly hit us, I wanted to go beat on the hood of their car and ask them if they were blind or just stupid.

At the grocery store, I will wait patiently for someone to move out of the way, saying “excuse me” and/or pretending to look at my shopping list until they are finished. While pregnant, I imagine ramming them in the ankles with my cart and telling them that all the (corn, tuna, pasta) is the same so just pick one already!!

A few weeks ago, I took the kids to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. My son always wants to be held when it’s inconvenient, so I was holding him while I struggled to pull out a stack of high chairs, get one off the top, then put the stack away. I turned around for maybe 10 seconds to walk 8 feet to the counter (to get our food) and back, and someone had taken the *^%^& high chair! Normally, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt, but they had to have seen me struggling with the thing. I shot mental daggers into the backs of their heads and then wrestled another high chair out so we could sit down.

After we ate, I let the kids play in the playground a bit. This was a different restaurant than we usually go to. Our usual Chick-Fil-A has a little area for toddlers with a plastic tree house thing with slide etc. This one didn’t. All it had was what almost looked like a plastic box with a round opening (just big enough for one kid to climb through and sit in.) My son (two, and tiny) was halfway through it when a boy a few years older came into the play area. He immediately shoved himself into the “box,” knocking my son down in the process.

I brushed him off, and he went with my daughter to climb the bigger play tower. He is really a little too small for it, but can climb up with his sister’s help. The other boy came tearing out of the “box,” shoving my kids aside. When he made it through, he proceeded to climb up the slide while other kids were trying to go down. My kids were still trying to make it up (staying to one side because they’re polite like that) and the darn kid came rip roaring through again, stepping on my son this time! Now this whole time, the boy’s mother was sitting there. At least two or three times she said “watch out for the little ones,” but hello? The kid isn’t listening. When your brat monster terror child is repeatedly knocking down, stepping on and hurting other children, you need to do more than repeat yourself, since he’s great at ignoring you.

I would normally just quietly redirect my kids and leave, but that day, I stood there for a full 10 seconds daydreaming. I stared into space and imagined telling that Mom just what I thought of her kid and her parenting skills. My daydream may or may not have included a few 4 letter words. Daydreams like this usually end up with me in front of a judge pleading temporary insanity, so I took a different approach. The passive-aggressive approach. I told my kids (louder than necessary) that we were leaving and why. (He is just too little when other big kids were knocking him down and stepping on him.) Luckily neither of them protested since it wasn’t fun anymore.

Pregnancy also makes me weepy (and clumsy and forgetful, which often leads to more weepiness) and over the dumbest things.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Burger King put mayo on my whopper and I didn’t realize it until I got home. There’s really no way to get the mayo totally off the burger, lettuce and bun and darn it, I really wanted that burger! So…I cried.

I went to Fridays for lunch because all I wanted was their black bean soup. The waitress was brand new and had no idea what I was talking about because they had discontinued it! I managed to leave (without eating) before I cried, and I actually ended up finding a copycat recipe online that was even better (and coincidentally, is my daughter’s-who I was pregnant with at the time-favorite food.)

The extent of my crazy is not limited to food (although that seems to be a common theme.) When I was pregnant with my son, we had sold our house, bought land, and were renting (from a person, but done through our real estate agents) while we built. Unbeknownst to us, the landlord wasn’t paying the mortgage, and hadn’t been for some time. It seems he was using the money we paid him to pay the mortgage on his 5,000 sqft house instead.

Anyhoo, when the real estate agent called to tell me that we would have to move out (and that we would have to start letting strangers in at all hours so they could try to sell the house at a short sale before the foreclosure) I freaked out. I’m not sure when the voice-raising ended and the crying began, but it wasn’t pretty. We’d had a horrible time finding a place with a lease term less than 1-year and now not only was I going to have to move again, but we were going to have to try to find someplace to live for maybe a month, maybe three months. We weren’t totally sure when the house would be done.

Thanks goodness, our friends let us live with them for three months so at least we weren’t homeless, but that was an adventure in itself for sure!

Unfortunately for me, postpartum hormones don’t treat me much better. When my daughter was two weeks old, a neighbor decided to snowblow around 11 P.M. I marched down the street in my pajamas to ask him if he’d lost his everloving mind. (I’m sure he thought I’d lost mine!) Shortly after that, I spilled my lemon extract while making cookies…cried. After that? Tried on my pre-pregnancy jeans & couldn’t get them over my knees. Yep, cried.

I think I should have lived in an era when women “in this delicate condition” were locked out of sight. I’m afraid one of these days I’m going to say what I’m thinking, and it won’t be pretty!

So, if you see me staring into space with a smirk on my face and a devilish glint in my eye, know that I’m probably mentally reaming out the guy who decided to discontinue the Tuscan Turkey sandwich at Quiznos.

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