Sunday, September 09, 2007

decisions, decisions

For some bizarre reason, I've started thinking about what Lumpy's birth will be like. I've started considering options. And I almost wish I hadn't, because there are so many... and the ones I like are the hardest to achieve.

I used to sneer at scientology's insistence on silent birth, but now I'm wondering whether Lumpy really needs to hear me screaming, "holy fucking mother of god, this hurts like a motherfucker!" as he goes through his own traumatic transition. (of course, I still sneer at scientology. I just think less screaming might be a good thing)

I used to think that homebirth was messy and would involve way too much laundry for me to even consider it. Now I wonder why on earth I think I'd be more comfortable in a crappy hospital bed than in my comfy pillow-topped bed with a fluffy duvet.

I used to believe that women who attempted unassisted childbirth (i.e. no doctor, midwife, or other professional) were irresponsible at best, and really fucking deranged at worst. Now I'm thinking that it would be so great to be able to take my time, without being pressured or rushed, and just let Lumpy emerge. I can also totally see how having a nurse stick her fingers up my cooter to see how far I've "progressed" could be uncomfortable, distracting, and utterly useless (does knowing how dilated you are make the baby come faster? I doubt it).

I've decided I should get my thoughts about birth down, and then you can all comment and nitpick. Bonus points to commenters who've been there, done that, or have practical suggestions.

In no particular order:

- During labour and birth, I want to be able to move around freely. Heck, I'd love to float around in my parents' (indoor) pool until my water breaks. I don't see how confining myself to a bed will help the baby descend. Anybody with a basic understanding of physics should clearly see how gravity is involved. Anyhow, I want to be free to shower, swim, watch a movie, have sex, whatever... right up until I'm good and ready to get the kid out.

- The idea of constant monitoring and constant "checking" doesn't thrill me. As I said before, knowing where you are doesn't make things happen any more quickly... and I can see how it even might be demoralizing. Seems kind of unnecessary to me.

- If I'm having a normal, low-risk birth, why the fuck shouldn't I be allowed to eat or drink if I want to? If it's a long labour (read: longer than 5 hours) I will be SO not cool with the whole starvation thing.

- I don't want to have any interventions that are recommended on the basis of "this birth is taking too long". This is going to happen on Lumpy's schedule, not on the timeline that any nurse or doctor demands. As long as Lumpy and I are ok, we'll wait as long as we need to.

- In a similar vein, I'd rather wait and let my skin stretch than have an episiotomy so that Lumpy can be out faster. (TMI WARNING: I keep thinking... if it sometimes takes my ass 10 minutes to stretch for me to take a big dump, why would my vagina stretch any faster for an even bigger baby?)

- I get the impression that I'll KNOW when my body wants to push. I do not want doctors and nurses standing around telling me when and how to do it.

- Does my baby really need to immediately get that eye gel "just in case" I have VD? Come on, people. We know I don't have any STD's, because the government made us check at the beginning of this pregnancy - and I'm in a monogamous relationship. So what's with the mandatory eye crap?

Ugh. I imagine there's lots more, but that's all that comes to mind right now... so let me have it. What do you think? What did you do... or what do you hope to do one day? What works? Am I a total idiot for thinking this way?

Help. Only 123 days left.


Anonymous said...

Not that I have been there, but I totally commend you on the more natural way of doing things.

If I ever get there, there will be drugs. Lots and lots of them.

I do know people who have done home births and they are thrilled with their decisions to do it the way they wanted.

If it were me, honestly, I would want to be in a hospital, just in case things went bad. But that is me and I tend to have bad luck follow me. I think a lot of it is mental - if you believe you can do it, you will. So, I say do what makes you happiest. I know getting pregnant didn't go exactly as planned, hopefully, you will get to give birth exactly how you want to.

Heather said...

When we first starting thinking about trying I made up a mental "birth plan" of things I wanted/didn't want and how everything should happen.

At this rate, I don't care as long as we both come out alive and relatively healthy.

In the same light, whatever you choose is right for you is exactly that. I have no opinion about what is right for you and your child.

I would love to experience a water birth but at the same time I feel more at ease with having doctors around (now that I have gotten used to it).

I'm torn between drugs, there is the small part of me that would like to try to do it natural (because it would be the only thing "natural" since conceiving is not going to be). Most of me wants drugs.

For what it is worth, many hospitals will let you get up and move around. I spent most of the night walking with my sister around the hospital to help her deal with pain and to progress the labor. The hospital was the one to recommend she get out of the bed. You can always ask whatever hospital you are considering.

katy said...

I'm a lurker sneaking out to comment on this one. I usually don't comment because I never had infertility problems, but I do like quietly cheering you all on from my own little computer.
When I had my first I was 21 and scared. No one in my family actually ever admitted to having a vagina and it was 19 years ago so I had no one to ask questions.
I refused to go to the hospital for 12 hours after labor started because I could tell I didn't need to go. When I finally went I was whisked into bed and hooked up to so much crap I couldn't move, and thats when the real pain started. I couldn't get up so I couldn't try to find a way to get away from the pain. I agreed to pain medicine and then I really wasn't allowed to move. I think being allowed to move around would have kept me from laying there for 10 more hours.
The monitors though I think are useful, at least sporatically during labor. My sons was in major distress and if they wouldn't have rushed me to surgery he wouldn't have made it.
I hope I didn't scare you or anything....just a few things to think about.

Rachel Inbar said...

I think it's great that you're thinking of a plan - I have been there (4 or 5 births - depending how you count it, each different)and I'll give you my comments, only because you asked :-)Sorry for being so long about it...

Freedom is great. At some point in your labor you'll probably decide you'll feel safer in a hospital. Most hospitals (here, in Israel) will let you be up and around except for 10 to 20 minutes every hour or two, when they put you on the monitor. Though if you have an epidural, you are stuck in bed...

Many places don't constantly check you. In my experience, after a few hours, you end up calling someone to check if there's any progress. Does it make the baby come faster? Actually, yes. You really don't want to be stuck at 1cm for 12 hours when you're having painful contractions. Some interventions (e.g., having your water broken) can really speed things along. And you may reach a point at which you're ready for things to move along.

Eating during labor was the last thing I could think about. If that's what you want, go for it.

Routine episiotimies are out, so now they're only done if the midwife is fairly sure you'll tear otherwise. If I had to choose, I'd choose the cut because my feeling is that the cut is controlled and the tearing, as natural as it may be, can cause many more problems. (I had episiotimies with my first 2 births.)

You're right that usually you'll know when to push. I felt that having the midwife coaching me was really important, particularly since there is a time during the birth when you take a break so she can make sure the shoulders are at the right angle. In my last birth, I was sitting up and was actually able to help deliver my daughter (I held her as she was being born). Having the midwife there made me feel very safe - and there's no doubt that she had more experience with births than I do...

And just one last thing - before each birth I decided that I'd make decisions on the spot, according to how I happened to feel at that moment - and not to feel trapped into a decision I made when I was in a completely different situation.

Aurelia said...

The Doctor and hospital you picked will go along with everything you've mentioned, except the STD eye gel, and while you know you are monogamous, it can also be transmitted by other means, like medical checks, etc, and God me, it's a really nothing thing. I didn't want it either, but it was no big whoop when it came down to it.

If you bring this list to her, the only thing you'll have to worry about is that they have no birthing tubs at that hospital but you are welcome to bring your own and get hubby to fill it. I walked around, did whatever until the epidural and they only monitored me intermittently, so every half hour I had to sit in a chair for 2 minutes to record the heartbeat.

They let you eat and drink clearish fluids like soup and juice, but really, I wasn't hungry, and if you get an IV the purpose is to make sure you still have enough energy. They give you sugar and salt and fluids in it. And, you might just throw up, (even in a natural birth) so you don't want too many heavy solids in your tummy anyway.

Talk to your Doc, I think she will be cool about all of it, even the silent part, which is better for your blood pressure/heart rate anyway. (You may want to moan, but most women I know don't scream like on TV unless something odd is happening, like my first birth which happened after a car accident.)

ms. c said...

Can I just say that I am in love with this post? EVERYTHING you have written is important stuff- well said!! I am so with you on the moving and eating...

GirlSpeaks said...


1) The eye gel can wait... We waited a few hours actually. We told the nurses and doc before hand and everyone was cool with it. Just keep them informed and remind them.

2) My hospital automatically puts baby on your tummy and checks them out while they are in your arms. They only move them if something is wrong, and to get a weight/measurement/tag em.

3) Tell the nurses to "shut up". It worked wonders with me, had my doc and the nurses rolling, and they all caught the hint the first time "SHUT UP" came from my mouth as they started in on the pushpushpushpush thing!

4) You don't have to immediatley go in and most places recommend not til your water breaks if you can stand it... :) I waited. It was better.

COMMUNICATION with your doctor is my best advice. My doc and I became close during my pregnancy. Close to the point out of my entire... Ohh... 5 hours of labor, he was there for abou 3hrs and 56 minutes of it. We joked, cut up, laughed, talked, and were serious when need be. A good relationship between doc and patient is helpful!