I could tell something felt different and weird yesterday. I felt like someone had strapped a 5 lb. dumbell on top of my bladder, and I was up every hour the entire night needing to pee (yes, no exaggeration, EVERY HOUR). On top of it, I had major cramping/stretching/pain/whatever-you-want-to-call-it right underneath my baby bump.

I woke up and said I could’ve sworn Gregory had just spent the whole night “dropping”, a term used when the baby drops down a station or two into the pelvis, getting ready for birth.

Turns out, I was right! After feeling around on the outside for where he was positioned, the midwife got really excited. “His head is very low and positioned RIGHT on top of your bladder! He might come early! Let’s check and see if you’re dilated at all!”

And…nope. Sure, he’s dropped, turned sideways, head down, perfect birth position, but nothing.

She looked at me apologetically and said, “I was hoping I could give you some good news after all that hard work you did last night. Looks like you’ll probably be a bit early, but not by much.”

I like that though. She didn’t describe last night’s sleepless and uncomfortable activities as pain, but as hard work. My body was stretching, working with Gregory to get him in the right position. It made me feel empowered, instead of sleepless.

Just a few more weeks!

Week of Relative Leisure

This week is going to seem easy in comparison to the last 2 months or so. I am now on modified “maternity leave” from piano, which means that instead of teaching all 34 of my students (didn’t realize I had that many until I added them up!), I am only teaching 7. They are all families that I feel safe going week to week with until my due date, simply because I’ve been working with them for so many years.  I also just finished my first paper in each of my grad classes, along with my first test in one of them.

Some things I want to catch up on this week:

1. Baby Room final touchups: There are still a few things I have yet to finish, such as constructing “branch shelves” for one of the walls. Don’t ask, it won’t make sense until you see it. Jesse helped me dig through the dumpster at church for candidates. Several parishioners walked by, nearly asking what we were doing. Then they remembered that it was me, and that I like crazy projects. We did the same “digging” through the dumpster when I needed a wishing tree for Jenny and Jason’s wedding. I also have many baby clothes to wash and put away in my storage bins for each month (I have clothes for every stage until he is 2 years old!).

2. Organization Projects: I can’t begin to tell you how many of these I have. I want everything organized to a “t”. I think it’s the fact that several friends have offered to come clean the house a day or two after Gregory gets here. I don’t want them thinking that I LIKE having a pantry without labels, or a closet that looks like 4 different people live here and toss things all about. The closets are a tough one– at different stages of this pregnancy, I’ve taken clothes from the master closet and hung them in our gigantic baby room closet (yes, the one so gigantic I was considering turning it into the baby room, at one point in time). I almost want to wait to organize both closets until I’m back in my normal clothes and the bland maternity stuff can just be a bad dream.

3. Filing: Our bills are nicely set up in a little system underneath my desk, but Jesse’s grad school and Biola papers…not so much. This bugs me a lot, and I’m not sure why. I guess it’s because I know that Jesse isn’t a frivolous note taker. If those thoughts were important at one time, then they deserve the honor of being organized, because this increases the chance that they will one day be read again.

4.  Transplanting of my cherry tomato seedlings– they’ve grown 6-7 inches tall, and I think they’re longing for extra space. I can do them this kindness, seeing as they honored me by being the first things I’ve grown from seed!

5. Purchasing of birth center/post partum supplies: I have quite the detailed list. I wonder if having this 100% ready will help me be in the right mindset for labor. In case you haven’t been privy to my continuous rantings against the 3rd Trimester, if Gregory wants to come early, I am WILLING AND READY. Hear that, kiddo? I feel like we’ve reached the limitations of how well we can get to know each other when all I know of your personality is that you like to move constantly. I really hope there’s more to you.

This is all I have for now. Jesse is attempting to read “The Scarlet Pimpernel” aloud with me in the evenings, because I confronted him with that fact that I’ve read his favorite book, Man Who Was Thursday, but he hasn’t read mine. Oh, the grievous things I have to complain about…life is “so” hard 🙂

Baby Reading

I just bought 2 books that I am anxious to read through, as soon as a few more school tasks are out of the way.

I know many people have read and recommended the first, but how about the second?

Cesarean Sections

I posted this article on Facebook, but thought I’d put it here too. This was sent to me by Parenting Weekly. It’s an article from the San Francisco Chronicle, talking about how C-Section rates are higher in CA at a for-profit hospital than a nonprofit one, even when comparing hospitals who serve the same demographic in the same town.

You can read it and decide if you want to disregard it or not. When I posted this on Facebook, people began encouraging me to watch “The Business of Being Born” (available for instant viewing if you have Netflix), a documentary made by Ricki Lake (remember her?) when she started looking into why people choose midwives over hospitals. She was so convinced by her research that she decided to have her second child at home.

I am not saying that there aren’t valid reasons to have a C-Section. Doctors use this procedure all the time to save lives, and I’m grateful that modern medicine has found a way to turn otherwise deadly birth situations into a safe experience. I have friends who would not be here, were it not for this practice. So please don’t misunderstand me.

But our culture doesn’t seem to realize that birth is natural and normal, not a sickness. It isn’t ALWAYS an emergency. Why, then, is the national C-Section rate at 31.8%, vs. ? Did 1 in 3 women die in childbirth before doctors figured out how to perform this surgery? Was childbirth really more deadly than war? Plagues?

This also doesn’t explain why there is only an 11.1% transfer rate to the hospital of mothers who begin their care at my birth center (10% of which are first time moms who are not progressing). Less than 5% of these turn into C-Sections.

Are people just not aware of the possible complications of a C-Section?

Cesarean section is a major surgical procedure that increases the likelihood of many types of harm for mothers and babies in comparison with vaginal birth. Short-term harms for mothers include increased risk of infection, surgical injury, blood clots, emergency hysterectomy, intense and longer-lasting pain, going back into the hospital and poor overall functioning. Babies born by cesarean section are more likely to have surgical cuts, breathing problems, difficulty breastfeeding, and asthma in childhood and beyond. Perhaps due to the common surgical side effect of “adhesion” formation, cesarean mothers are more likely to have ongoing pelvic pain, to experience bowel blockage, to be injured during future surgery, and to have future infertility. Of special concern after cesarean are various serious conditions for mothers and babies that are more likely in future pregnancies, including ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa, placenta accreta, placental abruption, and uterine rupture (Childbirth Connection 2006).

One of my good friends is no longer able to have children because her first C-Section was so botched that her body went into labor 9 weeks early with her second  baby. When they went in to remove him, they said that her uterus was practically transparent near the first incision. Her body had gone into labor early in order to save her life. She and her husband had always dreamt of a big family– now, they will only have 2.

3 of Michael’s high school students just had C-Sections. Their doctors met with them ahead of time and explained that since they were so young, their hips couldn’t possibly accommodate a normal birth, so they should go ahead and schedule a C-Section ahead of time.

The woman I used to babysit for was livid about her first birth– the doctor at Baylor had also told her that her hips were too small to give birth to what they estimated to be a nine pound baby growing within her. They convinced her that a C-Section was the only way to be safe. After the surgery, they discovered that the baby was only 6 pounds. Simple mistake on their part (a charitable read), but now surgery has been her only option for her other two (despite the fact that a V-BAC– vaginal birth after cesarean– succeeds 9 out of 10 times, there is only one doctor in the entire DFW area who is willing to risk it).

A woman listed in this article talks about how her first c-section has now rendered her infertile. She, too, was told she was having a baby too big to fit through her cervix. A baby who turned out to be 5 pounds 12 oz.

What is going on, America? I’m not trying to artificially find a whipping boy for this one– big bad doctors, corporations, what have you. But am I wrong to see this as a problem?