Friday, March 7, 2008

Here is the scoop, week 25

Hello to everyone, especially those of you kind and patient enough to give me some REALLY great ideas without asking too many questions, in regards to my upcoming birth.

So here is the deal. Kneelingwoman is my midwife. She is a homebirth midwife who caught my homeborn baby, Casey, 4 years ago. She is my midwife again now, and I am now her apprentice. She comes to my house for prenatals and a few weeks ago we started discussing, in earnest, my situation. We both came to the conclusion that it was beyond our comfort levels to have this baby at home. There are many many people who will disagree, and there are probably many people who are thinking it is a good idea. she offered me time and time again to go see another midwife, no hard feelings and I have no interest, because I completely understand and agree with her, despite how much it "sucks". Here are the factors of my situation that determined us deciding to seek an out of home birth and then I will tell you about our own "Dr Wonderful" here in Michigan.

Casey was 11 pounds and was, if not a shoulder dystocia, a verrrrrry slow and sticky baby. He had one arm in front of him one arm behind him, and was wrapped up in cord, all around his entire body. I pushed and pushed and she had to do a corkscrew maneuver to help him out. Say whatever you want about hands off, etc, I have a 100% healthy non-brain damaged child and was glad for the assistance.

Charlie was a full pound bigger and completely failed to descend, as much as I hate those terminologies, they do apply to some babies. He never got past minus one station, and I pushed for almost 4 hours and ended up with a c section. Not a random stupid pointless c section like I had for baby #2, but a real honest to goodness the-giant-baby-is-seriously-not-coming-out one.

I have had 2 c sections.

For these reasons, Kneelingwoman felt really uncomfortable attending this birth at home. For these reasons, I was getting so nervous that I didn't want to think or talk or write about birth. I was really getting into a depression/funk and it took a long talk with her to get to the point where I came out with it. I tried to listen to Hypnobabies CDs and all I pictured was a dark purple head of my dead shoulder dystocia baby. I tried to begin studying some midwifery texts she gave me and felt only bitterness, fear, and a general disconnect with everything I read about birth. These weird and disturbing thoughts brought me to give her a teary phone call and that's when we started talking about this all. I must be honest, I was more expecting a "lets move past your fears" speech, and when she got really frank with me is when I got really frank with her and my whole "I don't think we want to do this anymore" met with her "I dont think I am comfortable attending you at home with this history" and the relief between the 2 of us was palpable, unexpected, enormous. There is no other midwife I want to see, Kneelingwoman is our treasured family gem. She cares about me, truly. She knows her stuff. She knows me. It was all good, despite how bad it all sounds.

On top of all of this, there have been these terrifying new witch-hunts , if you will, of midwives in our area, and, as Kneelingwoman said, it is not a matter of "IF", but a matter of "WHEN" the next person who transfers to a hospital with her midwife faces jail time, lawsuit, and worse. Neither one of us has any interest in any of that. We have families, responsibilities, livelihoods. As important as warriors and rebels and fighters and dissidents and revolutionaries are, I am not in a position to do that or be that or pursue that at this time, and feel really ok about it.

So, I asked her, what in the hell are we facing here, scheduled c-section???? (gulp) and she told me about one single solitary doctor that she knows who might give us a chance. A chance at some real protected space, a VBAC, in a hospital. I called for an appointment that day.

Although Kneelingwoman planned on coming with me to every appointment, she was stuck out of town in an ice storm when I had my first consultation with him, and it was very cool in retrospect to check him out on my own. He was SO different than any other OB I have ever had the (dis?) pleasure of dealing with, or for that matter any doctor. He had no ego, no patronizing, and really warmed up to my "us versus them" kind of speaking. He listened to my 4 birth stories, and wrote down alot of stuff. then he looked up and told me that there was no reason that we couldn't go for a VBAC and gave me a genuine warm smile. We discussed parameters, protocol and the limitations he has in his hospital. He seemed kind and impressed with the level of logic and common sense conclusions that we were both exchanging. He expressed a deep and genuine sorrow for my first c section and even did stuff like roll his eyes at all the right parts of the stories :) He was so so cool and I felt really good about it all. He isn't against homebirth at all, and has been the guy whom Kneelingwoman has transferred care to in the past and remembered her very favorably. All of this was done in his office, not in a paper gown on an examining table. I appreciated that greatly. We discussed gestational diabetes and he feels about the same way I do about it. I am going to do everything in my power to have a smaller baby as far as lowering my sugars and simple carbs, and I have no problem taking a glucose tolerance test. I want to do everything I can to have a VBAC. even though I have Kneelingwoman's word that she will not let me just rot alone postpartum this time, there is no way to describe how terrifying taking care of FIVE little kids will be if I get sliced again. Its a total nightmare, and not even anything about lamenting my perfect birth. The one thing that is so prominent in my mind about c section is how I couldn't lay on my side for many many weeks, and on my side is HOW I MOTHER A NEWBORN NURSLING BABY. All the pain and disappointment aside, all the disfigurement and scariness of it all, it is the lack of ability to mother my new baby, AGAIN, is what drives me on to try so hard for a VBAC.

Kneelingwoman is still my midwife, and in my opinion, my primary care provider for this pregnancy. She does my prenatals, spends time with me on all the psychological stuff of pregnancy and life and family...and in the hospital she will be my "doula", my partner, my advocate, and will never leave me. She has a wonderful rapport with the Doctor and like I said, he is completely cool and it isn't a trick. He admitted to being the only guy in our county who would "allow" or support such a thing, and as insane as that sounds, I know he is telling the truth and I am grateful for him and for Kneelingwoman for connecting me with him, I would never have found him, ever.

Yesterday I had my second appointment with Dr. T we will call him, and Kneelingwoman went with me, her teenage daughter even babysat my 4 kids so we could go alone! She is SUCH a cool girl, my kids were in awe of her. Dr T was happy to see her and we discussed what exactly we all should do. We came up with this: Stay home and labor with Kneelingwoman until about 5 cm. Call him at the start of labor with hearttones and stats and such, and then go in around then. Because of the protocol and the fear of Uterine Rupture or scar dehiscence, they will want me on the External Fetal Monitor the whole time, thus my last post. I got freaked out when I heard this. I had flashbacks to laboring in a little bed and felt like throwing in the towel right then and there. I cant do it, I can't bear it, its just not possible for me. I labor in my hands and knees ONLY, I can't do it.

but then all you awesome Mamas sent me in the ideas about the birth ball and telemetry and I ran them past Kneelingwoman and she agreed they were wonderful. We are going to ask about my hospital's telemetry unit next visit.

I am going to go back to the Hypnobabies in earnest now and feel good about things again. I feel like people that I trust are on board with me, and that is what I need right now. It might not sit right with many of you, and I understand. Maybe a few years back I wouldn't have understood, either, and thats ok with me.

Homebirthing is not a club that you get a membership card to, it is a belief and a calling, and I consider myself a homebirthing woman, advocate, supporter and future midwife. The experiences I have accrued will make me an even better support for women with all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and most importantly, in about 3 1/2 months I will have five children to kiss and squish and love, and a real person to help me out after I have the baby this time. To me, that is my ideal birth, and for these things I am grateful and happy and proud.


Judit said...

Joy, you are so, so awesome. You are honest with yourself and you face reality with courage and you get your needs met beautifully and you are doing a phenomenal job of taking care of that little baby already. I totally understand your decision. Way to keep your eyes on the real prize, mama!!!! C'mon, it doesn't only NOT sound bad, it sounds exemplary.
I hope and wish and pray that you and baby get through this in the gentlest and safest way possible; at any rate, you're sure doing your part.

Andrea said...

Oh my gosh, Joy, I'm really rather in awe of your bravery in going to the hospital on this one. I think it's the WHO that states that women should birth where they're most comfortable, and it's perfectly reasonable that this is not at home for you this time. I don't think you have to explain or defend yourself, and I hope nobody is giving you any crap, including the "we're so glad you're not being stupid and staying at home" kind of crap. It really doesn't matter about anybody else's experience, or what anyone else thinks is safe. You're the only one who can judge what will be right for you.

And I'm so glad to hear you found a great doctor. That's half the battle, I think.

Bebu said...

Hello HouseFairy! I have been reading your blog for a while and I really like it. I realized that you were in Michigan when you posted a link to Kneelingwoman's blog. I really would like to talk to you in private about that "Dr. Wonderful" that we seem to have here! You can write to me at bebunu (at) gmail (dot) com. I would simply like to know where he is and to talk about Kneelingwoman too! I'll wait for your e-mail...

mamaofquiteafew said...

The experiences I have accrued will make me an even better support for women with all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and most importantly, in about 3 1/2 months I will have five children to kiss and squish and love, and a real person to help me out after I have the baby this time.

YES! It sounds like you are in such a good place with this right now, and I'm thankful you have such a VBAC-friendly doc. Here's hoping to the most wonderful, gentle, and natural birth possible for you and your little one! said...

Rats. I wrote a response and it got swallowed by the internet. Anyway, I basically wanted to say I'm so happy for you that you've found such a supportive, encouraging team to surround you for this birth. As you already know, it's not all about homebirthing. It's about birthing where YOU feel safest...and good for you for listening to yourself and knowing just what that is. Congrats. I look forward to reading more :)

Mermaid said...

Dear Joy, Thank you so much for your honest truth. You are such a strong and inspiring woman, stating your feelings and thoughts and helping all of us women along our paths of womanhood. Just a year ago, I would have thought a woman crazy to have not birthed in a hospital, however, after reading your blog, Kneelingwoman's blog, and other women's blogs, who have birthed at home or in alternative places and shared those experiences, I would have never known I had choices in my life for my future children's births.

Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing your experiences with us. You and Kneelingwoman have provided us with the honest truth, that birth happens and you should trust it, no matter where you are.
Birth where your heart tells you to, you know yourself and your baby best, and that is what matters.

Mere Mortal said...

brave woman, what matters right now is that you feel at peace - safe, and loved, and supported.
it sounds like you've found that.
your deep intuition has guided you to this choice.
no matter where you birth, you are a warrior and bring your baby into this world in love.
you have so much to teach me.

Stacey said...

I am so glad that you are able to see Dr. Wonderful. I have read about him on other midwife blogs, and wish more OB's were in the same frame of mind. I'm sp glad that you and Kneelingwoman are on the same page with each other. It wamrs my heart to "see" such a beautiful connection between a midwife and Mama :)

Housefairy said...

The "Dr Wonderful" that Navelgazing Midwife loves is someone in California. I was only borrowing from her nickname, the guy I am seeing is someone here in Michigan. He isnt some big famous midwife-backup person or anything, just an old fashioned sensible man who seems to really believe that most of the over-management of births in hospital are unnecessary. He is near retirement age and just is a calm, nice man. Thank you everyone for all this encouragement! I think it will go well, and am just changing my focus to really get into the hypnosis stuff rather than showers, baths and the comforts of home that were my original plan for pain management. I think I will putter around the house for a while and then go to the hospital, put on their belly strips and then just trance-out. Or try to! I am definately gettting a birth ball and well thats about it. I hope it all goes smoothly and that the baby is lined up well and healthy and can slip right out :)

Seriously, everyone, thank you.

Sgt Howie said...

I knew there had to be at least one good pro-midwifery-and-homebirth OB around here! Really glad to hear you found him.

Jill said...

I think you've made the right choice. :) With four difficult births under my belt, I'd be leery of homebirth too! And with your very own Dr. Wonderful, it DOES sound possible to have that mythical Good Hospital Birth!

I'm rooting for you, as always. You are a brave and wise woman!

Anonymous said...

Glad you have a "Dr. Wonderful" in Michigan as well.

We have a clone of "Dr. Wonderful" here in Hawaii as well; he did my labwork for my Hawaiian homebirthed baby. He is an older doc who has been practicine since the 70s and will still do vaginal breeches on a case-by-case basis. I've found sometimes the older doctors are the best if you are looking for a low-tech hospital birth, perhaps because they trained at a time where a C-section wasn't the answer to every single little problem that pops up.

It's too bad that the younger OBs are being taught nothing but doing surgery to correct problems. Our "Dr. Wonderful" is retiring in June and it is a shame. Now what will women do here who want low-tech hospital births?

CNH said...

Every single woman should give birth how SHE is most comfortable.

I've had to face the very real possibility of hospital birth and/or c-section with these babies. I am a much higher risk of transport for problems or preterm labor. And it's frightening but I've somehow made peace with it. I am so glad to hear that you have done the same.

He sounds like an amazing doctor. They DO exist.

Stacey said...

Ahhh, so I'm NOT crazy ;) I am not too far from Navelgazing Midwife, and was almost positive he was out here too....I'm glad that there is another "Dr. Wonderful" out there, and that he is near you :)

Sheridan said...

Good for you! I think the MOST important thing moms need to do is follow their intuitions! It sounds like you have a great supportive environment to birth at. I hope they have telemetric monitoring. If not, it will still all work out!

Brooke said...

I am loving being able to witness your journey - through the depths of anger, despair, doubt, reconciliation, peace, fearlessness, compassion. Your approach to birthing in awareness, however you are called to answer each and every time, is an inspiration. Each birth is different. And as you say, there is no card-carrying membership to a club. Homebirth is a calling. And I still consider my hospital-transport cesearean birthed son a homebirth baby because of my approach to the entire pregnancy, birth and postpartum. In this way, I hear you too preparing to BIRTH your baby, not merely to announce an outcome but to celebrate the process, the relationship, the love and connection within yourself, with your baby & family and with your care providers.

I am wishing you great peace, balance and connection on this journey - however it unfolds.

Rixa said...

Just want to say that you are very courageous for being able to be honest with yourself about your needs, even if they don't fit into the neat little "homebirth" box that we love. It's all about doing what feels deeply right in your soul, and I think that you discovered that and are on the right path for yourself and this baby. Now of course that doesn't mean there won't be challenges, but it seems you're on your way to figuring out how to navigate the hospital stuff! So good luck, and let us know what you find about the telemetry. You can shower with the wireless unit on, do all sorts of good moving & grooving stuff!