Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Built to Birth

34 weeks now.... Only a few more to go!

I know I say this a lot, but seriously- It is kind of scary how quickly time goes. Luckily I left myself with plenty to do in these last few weeks so I can keep it that way.

Nick and I have been talking a lot about what I am going to do for income when Oliver is born. First; I'm going to stay at home for a couple of months so that I can give him all the attention he needs. Then, I am going to take the first steps towards doing what I have deemed a dear passion of mine: midwifery.

As some of you may know, I was about to start this journey before I became pregnant myself. It was kind of ironic, but then speaking with my midwives, whom I was talking with about apprenticeship beforehand, apparently it happens all the time. Your body goes into baby making mode if you surround yourself with new babies and information on babies, moms, and birth. So... whoops.

Truthfully, it was great timing in my eyes. We had been talking about how much we wanted kids of our own, but we were just too afraid of not being ready (when are you ever really "ready", anyways?), and then BOOM! I was pregnant. I feel very fortunate for it being so easy for us. I know the kinds of struggles that so many women go through to have children of their own, and it is not something that we look at lightly in this family. It is such a profound feeling, that we are so eternally grateful for, to be able to have children of our own.

ANYWAYS: So before I got pregnant, I drowned myself in information on birth; from the emotional standpoint, the physical, the mental, and everything in between. How it affects the mother as well as the child. How it can be the most empowering, beautiful, sensual, and important event of a woman's life, or one of the most traumatic and unfortunate. I think the strongest sense I got out of all of this information besides my passion for sharing all of it, was that I suddenly understood just how misinformed most women (especially American women) are about childbirth.

In this country, women are taught from a very young age that childbirth is painful. That it is scary or shameful. Most women honestly believe that their bodies are not even capable of birth; that somehow, their pelvis is too small to birth their babies, or their body doesn't know how to push a baby out, or the worst: they aren't strong enough to have babies.

Let's make one thing unavoidably clear here before I go any further. If you are a woman; if you were born with all the lady parts and pieces, YOU CAN GIVE BIRTH. You can have a baby just fine on your own. You don't need help. Now, of course, this is excluding any women who have legitimate health reasons for not giving birth naturally. And I do mean legitimate. More often than not, the reasons given to women by their doctors for them to not give birth naturally are for the doctor's benefit, not for the woman's safety. As backwards as that sounds, it truly is what birth has boiled down to in this country: a business, and nothing more.

How many times have you heard that a woman's baby was "just too big to be delivered vaginally"? Did you know that women all around the world give birth to 9, 10, 11... even 12 pound babies every day? And no, it doesn't mean that their bodies are permanently scarred for the rest of their lives, or that they will be somehow injured in the process. Your body will not make a baby that is too big for you, unless you have issues with gestational diabetes, or another related disorder. Very few women actually have pelvic bones that are too small to birth their babies; when they do it is typically related to a birth defect (which would have caused other issues, meaning you would be well aware before giving birth) or to a broken pelvis that did not heal properly. We are not all born incapable of birthing babies. How do you think our species survived for hundreds of thousands of years without medical interventions and cesarean sections? And yes, you can try to argue that more women and babies died in those times, but in most cases that was due to unsanitary conditions, infections, and disease; NOT the act of giving birth or some physical barrier innate in our women.

Unfortunately, although medical intervention for birthing may have started out with a purpose (to give birth a more sanitary and safe environment) it has evolved into something drastically different. Hospitals are one of the dirtiest places to give birth. Hospitals are where people go when they are sick. They can try to sterilize completely, but wouldn't you feel better knowing for sure you are in an environment that hasn't been exposed to TB and staph? I know I do. On top of that, the interventions used so routinely by doctors these days CAUSE more c-sections than they prevent. If you receive pitocin to induce labor, you are twice as likely to need an emergency cesarean section as you would have been if you had gone into labor naturally. Not only that, but hospitals are a business. You can't have a 24 hour birthing time at a busy hospital. They want you in and out so they can get someone else in that bed. Unfortunately, this means that pitocin is becoming EXTREMELY overused, practically to the point of it being a normality. It is sad, really. There are countless numbers of women receiving drugs and unnecessary surgeries (that are MAJOR surgeries, this isn't getting your teeth pulled.) that could have been avoided in the first place. You know laying on your back is physiologically the WORST position to birth in?? It closes the pelvis and causes you to have to push your baby against gravity, as your pelvis is then tilted upwards. No wonder so many women have such a hard time having babies in that position. You know who benefits from that position? Not the baby. Certainly not the mother... but the doctors. Because then they can see what is happening. Then they (god forbid) don't have to be in an uncomfortable position to observe (which is really all they are doing) your birth. Come on ladies!!! Where is the logic??

Birth should not be a scary event. It shouldn't be traumatic. Yet when all women are exposed to when it comes to birth are shows like "A Baby's Story" and "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant", it becomes understandably hard to be confident in our bodies. If you take nothing else from this bog post; remember this. Trauma and drama sell. Beautiful, easy, comfortable, confident births would get horrible ratings, because there would be no "edge of your seat" kind of action, no emergencies to speak of. So please, when you see women writhing in pain, being told their babies are going to die if they don't give in to emergency intervention, know that there were probably plenty of other births that were filmed for the show that went smoothly and quietly, but you will never see them because of the lack of drama they depict. Not every birth is scary and traumatic. Watch this one and see:
Many of you may have seen this video already. This woman is a chiropractor in Canada. She filmed and aired her birth through a live internet feed for anyone to watch. THAT, my friends, is confidence. The sounds  she makes are not that of pain, they are from the intensity that comes with birth. Yes, it is very intense. It is a huge thing your body goes through, and I never want to imply that it is easy. But if you listen to her when she speaks, it is almost comical. At 6:41, she has just about birthed her baby's head, and she calmly says, "The head is almost out." She calls her daughter to come and see. She even giggles! She isn't reaching out for someone to help her, or looking for guidance. She follows her body and knows that she is safe. In that place, she can relax. When she actually births her baby around 8:42, she doesn't even make a peep! She ended up having a beautiful, fast, accidentally unassisted birth in the quiet and comfort of her own home.

This may seem like such an anomaly to so many people, but it really happens all the time! Sure, many women are still not as confident and relaxed as she is, and yes, many times in the heat of birthing time women get very scared. Especially with first babies, that is to be expected. It is a brand new experience, and it IS so intense and powerful, it can take over our emotions. But that is just it; it is OKAY. It is okay to be nervous. We just need to keep in mind that we CAN do it. That we just need to listen to our bodies. That even if it is your first time, you are not clueless. Your body and mind were quite literally BUILT for birthing.

I know at this point I am just ranting. I tend to do that when I start talking about something I feel very passionate about. I just feel like it is high time for women to wake up. Open your eyes and look at the situation logically. Trust your body, don't fear it or it's power. You and your baby made it this far on your own; you don't need help now!

If you are expecting, I just ask that you do your research. Know what you are getting into with how you will give birth. And by all means; go to a hospital! Have a hospital birth if you just aren't comfortable with home birth. But be prepared to be pressured, and know how to deal with that.

Until my next obligatory rant on babies and birthing... sheesh. Take care of yourselves.

(Oliver now has the hiccups, so I will take that as his way of saying, "So long, folks!")

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Utterly Amazed.

In just three days, I will be 30 weeks pregnant.

Can anyone tell me how I ended up here?
Where did the time go??

Don't get me wrong, I am so excited. Like, butterflies every morning, dreaming of tiny fingers and toes every night, obsessing about my SON (oh my something bigger, I have a son!) every waking moment kind of excitement.

Although I am anxious for him to be here, I am very thankful for the mindset that I have for myself. Many moms get so used to the idea of a "due date" that they obsess over that day, and the days leading up to it; as if it were literally a delivery date set by fed-ex, and they can some how be assured that their little booger will be sitting on the doorstep by noon. I suppose too in most cases, this really is the case for women. Thanks to inductions and elective c-sections, you can choose your baby's birthday if you feel like it. (I hope anyone reading this who is pregnant or TTC will NEVER choose to do either of these things unless medically necessary.)

On the other hand, my brain has been hardwired to know that Oliver will be here anytime between Christmas and the end of January. And I am okay with that. It is exciting to me, not knowing; letting HIM choose his birthday. Did you know your baby releases a cocktail of hormones when he is ready to arrive? So, literally, your baby CHOOSES his or her birthday when it is best for him or her to arrive. I know most of you moms who just LOVE to give "advice" are itching to finish this post so you can scroll to the bottom and comment on how I "won't know till I am HUGE" and how I will be "begging for someone to get him out" because I am just SO uncomfortable. Well, save your breath, negative Nancys. Because I really, honestly, truly don't give a rats ass. I am well aware that I will be achy and tired and over the whole pregnancy thing, anxious about when he will decide to show himself. That is fine. I have a philosophy about pregnancy, that has seemed to work out really well for me so far. Ready to have your mind blown?

I STAY POSITIVE. I don't feel sorry for myself for CREATING LIFE. I know and trust my body to do what it is supposed to do, to nourish my growing baby in my belly until he is strong enough to join the outside world, and then to use my body to nourish him some more as he grows even bigger and stronger. I am just a passenger. I follow my body's cues, and will follow my baby's needs when he arrives. I will say, my aches and pains have been substantially lower than some, because I follow a strict chiropractic regimen, eat healthy, drink tons of water, and take care of myself. It helps a lot. But I honestly believe what has made this experience so enjoyable and so beautiful to me, is the outlook I have.

Sure, some days I look at my stretch marks, my wide hips, my round belly, and think, "Holy shit! I'm huge! Waaaaahhh!" But then I remember why my body looks this way. That the fat cells and extra water I am storing will soon be passed to my little boy so that he will get the nutrition he needs. That I can just as easily get my body back later, as long as I continue to take care of myself. That they are JUST stretch marks. My mommy lines. They tell a story, but they don't change what I am made of, or who I am.

I know some people will be offended by this post, as if I am saying "anyone who was/is pregnant that doesn't think like I do is ignorant and stupid", because people like to think they are being attacked by everything they see if it is contradictory to the things they chose or are choosing to do for themselves. I assure you, that is not my goal. I just hope someone can see this and feel along with me the utter otherworldly amazement that comes from building a human being. Bones, teeth, a complex circulatory system, and a brain that can comprehend it's own existence. A beautiful and perfect jigsaw puzzle of cells and stardust that MY body put together in just the right way. And yours did too! Be thankful and be amazed. Because it is truly amazing.

I can finally feel the shape of his little feet and hands when he kicks and punches. It makes me tear up every time. It is SO real now. Luckily for me, every time he gets hiccups, they are pretty low. He has been head down for quite some time. Hopefully he will just continue to stay that way!

I just had to make a post today, because on days like these when I am just so dumbfounded by my body, and the overwhelming love I feel for this little boy, I have to share with someone.

As the weeks draw to a close, I will continue to keep you all posted. Hopefully a little better than I have been....

Love and happiness to you all,

Oliver's Mommy. ( EEP! =] )

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Beginning, middle, and end; simultaneously.

So I have been wanting to start a blog for some time. Much like everything else in my life, I just never got around to it. I am a procrastinator. When I was in college, I crammed before tests and did art projects the night before. I am the girl with messy hair, torn jeans, and the same fingernail polish I had on more than a month ago. Why? Because I never got around to fixing it. An even better explanation; I never got around to caring.

Apparently though, this marks the end of not caring.

Lately, I have been a clean freak. I've gone completely OCD. I don't even notice I am cleaning half the time. I also discovered recently that fingernail polish has toxic levels of phalates, so I gave up on painting my nails and went crazy about ridding my house of nasty chemicals. I worry constantly about anything and everything. I am a fast talker. I get stuff done before you could even mutter the word "procrastination". Why the change? Pregnancy. Everything they tell you about "nesting" is true.

I am officially 20 weeks today, August 27th. And just a few days ago, we found out we are having a boy. I loved having an older brother, so I am glad my future babies will have an older brother to look up to as well.

Along with this wonderful blessing that I wouldn't regret for a single moment comes my worries. Will I be a good mom? Will Nick be a good dad? Will we be able to agree on all the decisions that come with parenting? Will I be able to breastfeed as long as I want? At all? Will my home birth be as wonderful as I imagine it will? Does my baby love me as much as I already love him?

Which brings up a good point. Before I got pregnant I would hear people talk about how much they loved their unborn babies, and I would think, well sure. Of course you love your child! It isn't until now, being pregnant, that I understand the true extent of that love. I have known this little boy forever and I love him more than anything in the universe! He is my favorite person and the greatest gift. The most beautiful, amazing, inspiring being, and I haven't even met him yet. I haven't held him, kissed him, or embraced him, but his touch is intoxicating. My son is my world and I am totally immersed in it.

So with this comes my new beginning; a transition into my true purpose of motherhood. An end to my old life that couldn't have come at a better time. And right now, I am smack in the middle of that transition. This could be the only time I will ever get to be at the beginning, end, and midway point of a transition at the same time in my life. It is kind of a cool concept.

So this is me. I am a holistic, home birthing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, loving mom that isn't a mom yet. Hopefully I can keep up and post here often; maybe spread the wonderful information that I have found myself about the beauty of motherhood.

Until then, I'm sending love to all.