Monday, February 23, 2009

Ode to midwives

Let me start by saying that some may think this whole idea is a bit fanatical and unnecessary. Fine. To me, it's a huge deal. Say I'm crazy...
In the past three years, my comprehension of childbirth and all of its possibilities has expanded greatly. Somewhere around this week in 2006, Avery was conceived after quite a few unsuccessful months. I started seeing a naturopath doctor after learning that my thyroid hormones could be off, and that a hormone imbalance could certainly be related to infertility. I had also started spending time with a homebirth midwife, something unheard of at the time in my social circle in Western New York.
When I found out I was pregnant with Avery, I was determined that her pregnancy and delivery would be different than my first two. One of these days I will sit down and write out each of my birth stories (I promise myself!), but it would suffice to say that the first two were very medically managed. Some prefer it that way. That's totally fine! But for me, I knew I wanted to fully experience the birth of my third child in a different way than my others.
The plan was to try and have baby #3 at home. The kink in the plan was that we had just moved in with my mom so that we could sell our house and "prepare for whatever was next" (we didn't realize it was Richmond). I spoke with my friend, the homebirth midwife, and was excited but also VERY afraid.
To make a long story short, when I was six months pregnant, we moved to Richmond. (Gosh, I have a great story about God's posting, I promise...)
I ended up going with a midwife that worked in a brand new hospital where they allowed labor in tubs and everything. My husband, my unborn baby and I all fell in love the moment we met her. She delivered Avery. The birth still wasn't what I "dreamed" it could be, but it was getting closer to the idea.
Then came baby number four...
Levi's pregnancy was pretty easy. I was extremely busy with homeschooling the oldest two and having an infant/toddler underfoot (Avery was 17 1/2 months old when I had him), and I found solice in books about midwifery. Weird, I know, but I connected with him in a deeper way while he was still on the inside through the experience. Magically, I "got it" while reading these books. I understood what is "supposed" to happen to our bodies in childbirth and how these women in remote countries survive birth after birth, far from the nearest epidural. I felt in my spirit that I had the instincts that I needed to deliver.
On April 26, 2008, my opportunity to put all that was in my heart to practice arose.
I labored all night long the night before at home. I slept a little, I walked around, I showered and checked my hospital bag, Greg and I even walked around the neighborhood at 4 am. No big deal. Uncomfortable at most. By mid-morning on the 26th, I knew I was going to the hospital that day. Around noon I needed to stop what I was doing to concentrate through the contractions. Still not to the point where I was screaming in pain or anything. I trusted my body. I trusted the process.
By the time I got to the hospital (I think it was around 2:30?) I had to stop three times between the car and Labor & Delivery for some pretty strong, but not dreadful, contractions.
The contractions got REALLY bad, like to the point of needing SOMETHING, a little after 5:00. Fifteen minutes later I started pushing him out. Badabing, badaboom. No medicine. Just a trust that babies are SUPPOSED to come out and that my body could figure out how to GET him out. That was that.

Okay, I wasn't planning on posting all of this...
But this morning, when I dressed all of my little ones, piled them all into a cold car an pulled them into the hospital, took them by the vending machine for some special pretzels and crackers that would keep them entertained throughout my appointment, lugged them all up to the office on the 6th floor, sat them down on the floor with their goodies and awaited the doctor (not the midwife today, just this once...) to have him come in and say, "Any questions? Nope? Okay, well, take care."
...I remembered how lucky I am to have discovered the gift of midwives. They are passionate about pregnancy. They love to hear and help with minor and major discomforts. They get you excited about the littlest details related to pregnancy. They spend more than 90 seconds in the exam room with you...

They have given me a greater respect for how God created me as a woman. I was born to be a mom. My body was created specifically to conceive, house, and deliver a baby.

I still can't believe I'm doing this all over again...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We did it. We resisted the temptation. Yesterday morning was my 20-week sonogram, the one where we could've found out if we were having another girl or another boy; and we said no.
If you didn't know, there were some minor (but scary) complications at the beginning of this pregnancy. Around week 8, I started bleeding a bit and it didn't stop until week 10 or so. I went in for an ultrasound to see if things were okay, and the perinatologist was not as optimistic as I thought he'd be. I expected to go in and have him look at me like I'm just a paranoid pregnant woman, and tell me to go home and stop worrying; everything looked fine. Instead, he told me that my placenta had been tearing away and reattaching itself, and that oftentimes this means that there is something "wrong" with the baby and this is the body's way of "taking care of things on its own." He said I had a 50/50 chance of miscarrying. Not exactly what I had hoped I'd hear.
Thankfully, right around the same time I started getting miserably nauseous, I stopped bleeding. It seemed as though my body's hormones kicked into high gear to protect the pregnancy, causing the baby to be well but mommy to feel like death. That's okay. It was worth it.
Since that first sonogram, to my delight, I have heard a strong heartbeat at prenatal appointments and have felt lots of action in there.
But yesterday, when the sonogram tech as well as the other perinatologist continually smiled at the screen and said, "What a beautiful, perfect baby..." I still couldn't help but get choked up. All of the fear, all of the anxiety...disappeared. I saw my sweet sweet surprise baby...and felt myself beaming.
Life truly is amazing...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

on a lighter, shallower note...

I think that this stage of pregnancy is getting to me. I'm in the middle of the phase where I have a little belly, but a stranger wouldn't be able to tell if it's because of the infant in my arms, a few too many Oreos, or if I was pregnant again. I laughed the other day, trying to figure out what people must be thinking when they look at me. Let's suppose someone saw me in a grocery store with all four of my kids. The littlest two are sometimes mistaken for twins when seated. (I'm not sure how anyone could think that a two year old and a nine month old are twins, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since Avery is still challenged in the hair department.) So here I am in a grocery store with lots of kids, two being pretty small, and a slight tummy. Does a stranger think, "That girl just didn't get into shape after those kids...her belly is still big!" Or does a stranger think, "Dear Lord, is she pregnant AGAIN???" (And really, which is worse?)
Not that I really care what strangers think (at least I'm trying not to...see my last post), but I am getting quite bored with my white, pasty, plain-hairstyled, blah self. I need to do something...
I need to start with my hair, and I need suggestions. I'm thinking of going lighter (yes I know I'm not supposed to dye my hair when pregnant, but I figure I'm enough of a freak about organic, all natural stuff anyway...the baby will be okay if I take an hour in a well-ventilated place to make myself prettier) and of doing something fun as far as a cut goes. I'm having a hard time finding ideas.
So what I need are a couple of ideas on color (lighten all over? highlights? will this look weird in the middle of winter/spring on my white self?) and a cut (I currently have awful bangs and need to lift the shoulder length, maybe just layer it up in the back?) Be a friend...Help!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Perpetual People Pleaser

If you know me at all, you know that what I'm about to say is true:
I have an addiction to trying to please people.
It is why I work my tail off around the house. It is why I am always afraid to ask for help. It is why I have a hard time making a decision myself.
The part of this addiction that is bothering me most recently is that I have a tendency to hurt the ones I love the most in my attempts to please someone else. How many times have I neglected my kids' desire to do something fun, because I want the house to look nice when Greg gets home? How many times have I said something hurtful or embarrassing at my husband's expense when in a crowd of friends? How many times have I sabotaged one of my closest relationships in order to gain the approval of someone whose opinion of me really doesn't matter?
A recent event has slapped me in the face with this reality. I have found myself thinking, "How could I have been so stupid?" The next breath found me asking God, "What can I learn from my stupidity?" The answer I felt? Own up to it, and, obviously, don't do it anymore!
So this is something that I need to own and conquer: I need to beat my people pleasing addiction.
So...if you catch me at it, call me out on it. Remind me that it's dangerous. And if I apologize incessantly, slap me...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

not doing so well...

It's been a week since I spilled my guts out about all that I want to accomplish these next few months. Well...

This last week has knocked us all for a loop. We have received scary news (don't worry, everyone is well) and have found ourselves in need of some serious faith. The stress level has gone up as a result.

We've also all come down with some nasty cold. Not fun.

Let's put it this way: I've failed in every goal since I put in writing.

On to another week; let's hope this one is better.