Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

I’m Having Another Homebirth!!! January 4, 2013

If I could successfully land a front handspring right now I would do five or six of them in a row. I am so excited! I’m having another homebirth!!!

I was trying my best to be positive about the disappointing reality of having to deliver Baby #3 at a birthing center. A birthing center wouldn’t be nearly as unbearable as delivering at a hospital. Still, every time I considered it I freaked out a little inside.

Taken 12/29/12 - 33 weeks

Taken 12/29/12 – 33 weeks

  • If I go into labor at 2am, like I have these past two times, who is going to drive me to the birthing center?
  • Even if I have someone willing to drive me there, what about my children? I’ll have to wake them up and get them dressed at 2am and then travel the significant distance from our house to the center, in LABOR!?
  • What if I have to take a taxi, with my two children? In labor? At 2am? In the cold of February?
  • If we take a taxi to the birthing center, how would we get home?!
  • How am I going to labor in a moving vehicle with cranky children?!
  • How am I going to calmly ride the waves of my contractions while being terrified that my water might break all over someone’s car?
  • Okay. Say I go into labor sometime in the afternoon. Say the kids are dressed, my friends are available, my car is functioning, and it’s not all that cold…but what if my labor starts out as strong as it did last time? Last time there was never a break in how strong the contractions were from start to finish the entire ten hours!
  • What if the midwives at the birthing center discourage me for coming in because I don’t “sound” like I need to come in yet? I never “sound” bad when I’m laboring. I pride myself on being able to keep it together. But my labor won’t progress until I’m comfortable knowing that I am where I need to be. Does that mean I’ll wait at home too long and not be able to make it to the birthing center? Or will I be in labor twice as long because I am uncomfortable not being where I need to be?
  • What if Baby stays breech?! At my last prenatal appointment the midwives wanted to schedule me for an external cephalic version just in case my exercises didn’t do the trick of turning baby. A VERSION!?! Do you know what that means?! Do you know what that might do to me and Baby?! Do you know HOW OPPOSED I AM TO HAVING A CESAREAN SECTION UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY?!!? Did you know that babies can successfully be born breech vaginally?

BBBThere were so many things about going to the birthing center that filled me with anxiety. I was still going to go, but only because I didn’t have any other option. Should baby stay breech, however, they will not even allow me to attempt a vaginal delivery. Liability, they told me. I would’ve had an involuntary cesarean section. I used to work at a hospital in the labor and delivery department. I’ve seen c-sections performed. I do not EVER want that to happen to me! Our society, hellbent on controlling childbirth, does not properly acknowledge the risks of cesarean sections, yet doctors are no longer being trained to handle vaginal breech deliveries. It saddens me.

I’m still living off of my school loans so we’re still broke as can be, but let’s just say, where there’s a will, and a very amazing midwife, there’s a way. I’m going to have a homebirth for Baby #3!!! Just over five more weeks and Baby is coming 🙂

 

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I’m Not Really Complaining… December 7, 2012

“Let me know if you need a massage,” a girlfriend asked me yesterday.

“I don’t think you’d want to massage my vagina,” I replied.

My husband would say that I have a low tolerance for pain; he was doubtful that I could go through with birthing our first daughter naturally and medication-free because of how much I complained about the smallest things. Paper cuts and pregnancy are different than birthing. Complaining gets you nowhere when you’re in labor, but it helps me out in other instances.

Similar to saying aloud, “I’m embarrassed,” after tripping in front of a crowd, I will say, “my pelvis aches” to my classmates when they see me waddling around. It brings a sense of acknowledgement to the way I’m feeling and it helps me to be at ease with my discomfort.

31 Weeks

Today – 30 Weeks

People think I’m trying to be funny when I refer to my fetuses as parasites, but what better name for them is there? I love my unborn daughter, but she is just a little bit selfish. I don’t think she really cares how I feel about the way she sucks the nutrients from my body and then jabs her feet into my stomach so that it’s impossible to eat. She doesn’t consider how I might take offense to the pain in my pelvis being a result of the position of her spine.

Oh no, things are right fine on the inside. She has her xylophone –my ribcage, she has her trampoline –my bladder, she even has a nifty place to store her phalanges –my belly button. I’m thinking that she won’t take too kindly to hugs because every Braxton Hicks contraction incites a brutal fight between her extremities and my organs. I wish she could understand me when I tell her that I don’t like the contractions either, but they occur for her benefit.

So yeah, pregnancy is not walk in the park. It’s a waddle wherever you are after 30 weeks, and it’s going to take two to three times longer to reach your destination safely.  I’m trying my hardest to stop picking up my other two daughters as much, it’s no longer convenient to have a washer and dryer in the basement, and it takes me several minutes to walk from the front seat of my mini-van to the back to strap the girls in and then back to the front to start driving.

I’m not complaining. Not really. I know that this will all pay off in a matter of weeks (when the pain strengthens in intense waves repeatedly, peaks, and then tapers off through days of afterbirth cramps). Someday I will hold my third daughter, in all her innocent and chubby glory. I will gradually forget the discomfort I felt while she grew inside of me, and years from now I will crave this experience again.

Tonight, however, I will pout a little and ice my vagina.

 

Birth Plan December 5, 2012

I originally wrote this birth plan in 2007 for my first birthing experience. The biggest change was making “we” into “I” and “our” into “my”. Heart-wrenching, I know. At least I have a detailed birth plan and I won’t have to worry about being misunderstood.

 

Jet’s Birth Plan

EDD 2.11.13

I am delighted to be sharing this experience with you, the birth of my third daughter. I have done everything in my power to prepare for an uncomplicated, low-intervention, vaginal birth, and healthy baby. Though I am fully aware that situations may arise during labor and delivery which could result in my desires for this experience to go unfulfilled, I have created this birth plan in hopes of being as involved  and informed as possible, maintaining a pleasant atmosphere for everyone.

Listed below are my desires for the various stages of this experience. Thank you for all of your assistance, patience, expertise, and support!

*My daughters have spent my entire pregnancy learning about birth, babies, and what it will mean to have a new sister. They are very excited to be a part of the birth and as long as they are handling things well and behaving themselves I would like them to be allowed to stay with me throughout this experience.*

 

Labor:

  •    Room equipped with tub, birthing ball, and squatting bar. Same room for delivery.
  •    I do not consent to artificial induction, augmentation of labor, enema, or shaving of pubic hair.
  •    Freedom of movement, bathroom usage, choice of music and lighting.
  •    Avoidance of internal fetal monitoring, continuous external monitoring, and vaginal examinations.
  •    Portable IV if usage becomes necessary.
  •    Allowed to wear contact lenses, suck on ice chips, drink water, and try different positions.

Delivery:

  •    I do not consent to any medications (pitocin, epidural, general anesthetic) apart from local anesthetic if stitching a tear  (but please ask me for my permission before applying local anesthesia or stitching me).
  •    Avoid episiotomy. Try massaging, hot compress, or perineum support.
  •    Freedom of position choices (gravity enhancing), music, and breathing method.
  •    No “directed” (officious) coaching, allow me to trust the instincts of my body.
  •    Avoid, at all costs, cesarean section, vacuum extraction and/or use of forceps.
  •    I do not consent to the attendance of non-essential personnel or phone calls.

After Birth:

  •    I would like to hold my baby immediately.
  •    Please wait to clamp the cord until it stops pulsating, give my daughters the opportunity to cut the cord.
  •    I would like to breastfeed immediately after delivery.
  •    Apgar and any other tests/procedures can be performed while I hold her.
  •    I do NOT consent to ANY eye drops being used on my baby.
  •    I ask that I be allowed to assist with Baby’s weighing and bathing in my room.
  •    I do NOT consent to the vitamin K shot, suctioning, or ANY vaccinations.
  •    I will encourage spontaneous delivery of the placenta stimulated by breastfeeding.
  •    I would like to keep my placenta if it is intact.
  •    Please allow me freedom of movement after birth, with assistance immediately following.
  •    If my baby needs to be warmed, please let my abdomen be the place, avoid infant warmer.
  •    If Baby somehow happens to be male, I do NOT consent to a circumcision.

 

*I plan to breastfeed exclusively. I do not consent to my baby being given any bottles, pacifiers, formula, or water without my approval.*

*I do not consent to my baby being given any medications without my approval.*

*I do NOT consent to any separation from my baby without my approval.*

*In the event that my baby is not well I would like to be as involved as possible with her care.

*In the event of an emergency cesarean section I would like to be kept awake.

*I would like to be released from the birthing facility as soon as possible.

 

Once again, I am delighted to share this experience. Thank you for your support 🙂

~Ms. W
Nine weeks to go!

 

Woe Is Pregnancy October 12, 2012

My daughters are three and five, so my pregnancies with them seem fairly recent, but after giving birth I always gloss over how annoying pregnancy can be.

I remember the births vividly. I have no delusions about the consuming feat of labor and delivery; how much energy it takes to breathe easy through hard-hitting waves of contractions; the terrible tricks of transition. I remember well why they call it the “ring of fire” when baby is crowning, but I also remember the sheer joy and immeasurable humility of having a baby glide through my bones.

It was those subtler, constant and consuming pregnancy nuisances that I completely minimized in memory.

I remember complaining about the pain in my ribs. I don’t remember feeling like I was being pulled apart. There is a continual strain coming from my rib cage. It feels as though my ribs are being stretched to all sides and that the seven layers of skin holding them in might not prove strong enough.

37 weeks – 2007

I remember the pelvic pain and feeling pressure. I don’t remember waddling at 23 weeks because the aching in my pelvis is so strong that it hurt to put my legs together. I don’t remember there being so much pressure in my vagina that it hurt to sit down. I’m carrying around unfamiliar, weak, sore and swollen pieces of me.

I remember the practice contractions. I don’t remember being squeezed to the point where breathing becomes difficult. I don’t remember holding the bottom of my bump in a futile attempt to keep the pressure from affecting my bladder. I don’t remember being worried that they are strong enough to be a sign of preterm labor. And then, of course, I stress that it’s my stress level causing the contractions, which inevitably continues the cycle.

None of these discomforts are the same as true labor. I can handle that. When I’m in labor I am in my element, totally present, focused on creating the most peaceful earth-side entrance for my baby as possible. No screaming, no crying, no complaining, no drugs. It’s different when I’m in labor; the end is so near, and my mental commitment to staying relaxed throughout the process helps to keep things progressing positively. Pregnancy, however, is a lingering stretch of vexation, a waiting game, leading up to the day where the pain all accumulates, amplifies, and finally, finally pays off.

I’ve only got..17 more weeks of waiting…17 more weeks of rib-splitting, kicked-in-the-crotch feeling, Braxton Hicks contracting joyous pregnancy.

 

Another Homebirth? July 25, 2012

I always knew I wanted to birth my children naturally. With Amara, I labored for 18 hours in the comfort of my home, and was at the hospital for less than ten minutes before holding my first baby. I’d already considered the fact that birthing at a hospital wasn’t always necessary. I’d done my research, knew the pros and cons, and even spent a period of time working in the same labor/delivery unit my daughter was born in; still I knew that the next time I delivered I wanted a homebirth.

Terra was born at home. Ten hours of labor, two pushes, no interventions. I am completely satisfied with both experiences, but there was a beauty about giving birth at home which wasn’t present in my hospital delivery. I have to start planning now, for my third baby’s birth.

I love my current OB/GYN and the midwives he uses, but I will part ways with them soon as no one at that practice attends homebirths. I do not know if I will really have another homebirth (mostly because I am no longer in my home, but in a condo) nevertheless, I want to build a relationship with a midwife who does them regularly. There are more options in New England for birthing outside of a hospital than there were in southern Illinois, I just haven’t found the time to research them thoroughly.

I am 12 weeks along at the moment, so I still have some time left to figure out where I’ll feel the best about birthing. For now, I am going to reread Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, which has done wonders to prepare me for my last two births, and I am going to spend the rest of my pregnancy planning for my family’s future, bonding with my daughters, and continuing to build my strength.

Giving birth in my rented condo will not mean as much to me as giving birth on the bedroom floor of my first purchased home. Still, having the comfort of knowing that I can labor uninterrupted by the fear of not making it to where I “need” to be in order to birth my baby is invaluable.

No matter my location, I know that I will be a happy, peaceful birther, as always. I will not cry or scream or freak out. I never saw the need to use my energy on such things. Labor is hard enough work without losing control. I plan to have a labor party. I want to laugh and embrace my loved ones. I want to be distracted from the negative aspects of raising three small children alone. I don’t want to think about who will not be by my side for the first time as I push our baby through my bones.

Most importantly, I want a successfully drug and intervention-free birthing experience. The end result a chubby baby, and a recharged supermom.