July 29, 2008

Pregnancy: Week 14!
(Or "What Have You Done with my Brain Cells?")

I feel I am lacking in brain cells lately. I have nothing original to say. I keep leaving the refrigerator door wide open. For, like, 20 minutes before I realize I didn't close it. All my creative juices must be flowing to the baby blip, which actually is totally fine by me because creating life is the most creative act of all, when you think about it. So.... I'll have to make due with the leftovers.

Every time I have sat down to write something here, all I can muster up is "UHH... THIS PREGNANCY BE LOTS DIFFERENT THAN LAST ONE" posts, and for that I am sorry. Where I used to be able to write meaningful things- my brain previously a constant swirl of activity- now I often find myself staring into space thinking... NOTHING AT ALL. It is all so strange, this quietness in my head. But I do appreciate it on some levels. Less tumultuous. But, boring.

I have been reading loads of material about natural childbirth. I am increasingly shocked and sickened by the maternal care system in America. I found a book at the library the other day called "Pushed" by Jennifer Block (also, a blog here) and I have not been able to put it down. It is heavy on statistics- and the statistics are shocking. SHOCKING.

A big part of me is thinking of reconsidering the home birth option. The Bradley class I have been in has been SO HELPFUL... it has also helped me see exactly what Chris and I are going to be up against by wanting a natural childbirth within hospital walls. Because, basically, the moment you step through their doors, you are on their turf. And on their clock. Most hospitals REQUIRE electronic fetal monitoring and IVs- simply because the printouts from Electronic Fetal Monitors are submittable in court. If the hospital gets sued for this, that, or the other, they bring that strip of paper from your labor in and try to cover their butts for whatever surgical procedure they've done to you. (See here! Distress!) But, since Electronic Fetal Monitoring has been introduced in birthing wards, it has proven to have NO beneficial effects on the outcomes of births. It has, however, contributed GREATLY to the astounding Cesarean statistics in this country. (Some hospitals in America have 49% cesarean rates.)

Anywho, I could ramble on for PAGES AND PAGES about natural childbirth and it's benefits, and the strange and unnatural way we view birth here in America, but I know this is not a natural childbirth blog. But, that's what I've been studying and what has been on my mind these past few months. I promise to resume other topics of interest as soon as my hijacked brain cells are returned.

(They WILL come back, right? RIGHT??)

I am looking into becoming a Bradley Instructor sometime after the birth of this baby. Because I am learning so much and have an ever-growing passion to share this knowledge with people who would otherwise be unequipped for their own birth.

I must say it is exciting to finally feel passionately about something again. To be hungry for knowledge about something again. To study something and feel like what I am learning could impact someone else in time.

I haven't felt that way about something in a very, very long time. And I have this precious baby in part to thank for it all. What a gift this child already is!

Still 14 weeks. Rapidly approaching "basketball" status.


Mercy Kidz said...

people at hearing this, i know becuase i hear it all the time, and i well not be upset if you imadgen yourself punching my face hear friend but, your gunna be big by the time this is over!!
Love you!

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

I'm with you. Post all you want about birth, bradley, etc. It's a passion of mine too. You look beautiful.

jel said...

Emery...I have been a reader for a long time but have not commented very often. I love the way you think, how you write, your honesty and your passion for your family. But as a labor and delivery nurse I need to gently ask you not to put all the rotten apples into the same basket with the good ones...and there are so many more good ones than rotten. Most
labor and delivery nurses are going to try their hardest to give you the birth experience that you want. That is what birth plans are for. You have to talk to your doctor and ask him or her about following your birth plan. If they won't respect it then find another doctor. Go to the hospital where you are supposed to deliver and talk to the nurses. Ask them about how they implement birth plans. You are going to have to be assertive but gentle. Remember the saying "it is not what you say but how you say it"? No one likes being attacked verbally. Not even labor and delivery nurses. We as nurses have a job to do...get mom and baby safely through the labor and birthing process.(This is the same goal for the nurses and midwives in birthing centers) You walk into the hospital or birthing center with this precious package neatly tucked into your uterus. It is our job to make sure your precious son or daughter arrives safely into your arms. We are responsible to keep your doctor aware of how you and your baby are doing. You can tell us how you are feeling. We can see how you are handling labor. We cannot see or hear your little one. The only way your little one can "talk" to the people on the outside who are responsible for making sure that they are okay is through fetal monitoring. The fetal monitor is our way of knowing that your baby is okay. If your baby is having a hard time handling the pressure of the contractions we will see it. Your baby's heartbeat is his/her voice. Emery, fetal monitoring is not an evil thing. Many hospitals will allow intermittent monitoring and you have to make sure that your hospital will abide by your wish for this. But, let your baby have a voice...even if it is occasionally.

You talk about how fetal monitoring has had "no beneficial effects on the outcomes of births" and how "it has contributed greatly to the astounding cesarean statistics in this country". Emery, you have no idea how many babies would be dead or severely handicapped due to birth injury without fetal monitoring. These little ones came out pink and screaming or were saved because they were able to tell us through their telephone, the fetal monitor, that "HEY, I AM NOT DOING SO WELL IN HERE! GET ME OUT NOW!" Yes, maybe there are more c-sections and yes, of course, there are some that are done unnecessarily but think of all the kids that are healthy and happy because of it.

Emery, I am so glad that you are doing so much reading. Just look at both sides before you make generalized conclusions. Talk to the nurses, to the doctor and stick to your guns. Be able to compromise. For example: intermittent monitoring, a heparin or saline lock in your arm instead of being hooked up to an IV line. This way if there is an emergency they can give you whatever you need through this lock. I think with education, conversation and compromise you will be able to have the birth experience that you want.

Emery Jo said...

jel- I totally appreciate your comment and would hate to think that I am sounding harsh against labor and delivery nurses. That's not my intent at all! I totally agree with you about educating yourself about WHERE you give birth- because the outcome of your labor plan may depend on having a staff that is willing to work with you. And that's completely the mother/father's responsibility to research beforehand. Completely! I am in the process of finding a place I feel comfortable with, and I plan to find doctors/nurses who will respect my birth plan and then just stand firm on that. And I hope and pray to find a staff of nurses who have the heart that you do towards labor- that it is precious and sacred.

However, I know that hospitals are so bogged down by malpractice insurance and trying to cover all the bases so they won't get into trouble later, so it really is more difficult to have the labor I desire in that kind of a setting. Some people are totally fine with that- I'm just not sure if I'm one of them!

I am absolutely for intermittent monitoring- and using fetoscope or doppler. I should have been more clear about that. I just personally don't believe a woman (with a normal pregnancy) needs to be constantly monitored, or tied to the bed by machines for any reason. Then again, this is my opinion because I feel birth should be as stripped down and natural as possible. Less wires! Less intervention! More belief in the woman and her ability to birth on her own!

You are completely right when you say that "education, conversation, and compromise" will lead me to the right birth experience. And yet there are also some things I am not willing to compromise. I just need to find that line for myself, speak to my birth team about those things, and stick to my guns.

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it completely. It's ALWAYS good to hear from the other side, and it does nothing but help me in my journey for knowledge on all things 'birth'. :)

Candace said...

Amen Jel! This is my heart and as I venture into my nursing school and further into my career, my heart is there for those little ones. I want to see them enter this world the safest way possible all the while being there emotionally, medically, and in any way possible for the mother. I believe in the medical system....even though nothing is ever perfect!

skylana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skylana said...

amen. amen. amen. its hard for me to understand that this can even be up for debate, especially among women... because to me, it seems absolutely criminal. i think its so awesome that so many woman who go through bradley and usually do end up having home births become instructors (or midwives, or doulas!) because it becomes their passion... it becomes our passion because there is nothing more worth fighting for than our children and the woman around us. someone has to, i'm so thankful to be a part of that and i'm glad you are too. ... my plan is to become an instructor also!

and although it seems harsh to anyone working in a hospital, the enemy is not men and woman working in those places, they were taught one way and are doing their best to hold up to that... the enemy is our failed medical system and the stale teaching of childbirth going into that system. we need more nurses and doctors who are willing to admit that we are failing terribly in this area in order to change it... not argue a point that cannot be proved and is disproved over and over... hospital births are NOT getting safer or better. they are progressively getting worse.

*i re-commnted this cause i misspelled something and thats my pet peeve... misspelled comments.

skylana said...

and then i freaking misspelled comments! what a huge dork. i just about have a nervous breakdown when people leave misspellings on my blog! i'm always like 'they can't use spell check?' look who's laughing now.... them i guess?

Jennifer said...

I just felt uncomfy with the fetal monitor because I couldn't move around without it shifting and a nurse having to come in and readjust it. I'm thankful for it because it made sure that Bayley's heartbeat wasn't too high or too low.
I had a "natural" childbirth...no drugs. But it wasn't by choice.. the anesthesiologists were just dragging their feet. At the time I was angry because it hurt so badly and I wanted an epidural. But looking back on it now, she was 7 weeks early and an epidural could've put her through some more stress. So, just go with your gut and don't read TOO much...you will hear bad stuff from both sides. Just go with your gut and trust your instincts.

Monica said...

As much as I'd love to believe that hospitals and doctors have their patients' best interests at heart, I know better. I work for a large hospital in Boston, in the finance/billing office of a small department, and I KNOW for a fact that they will push unnecessary services that are more expensive and will hold off on other (sometimes more beneficial) services that are not reimbursable.

Bottom line is that a hospital is a business just like any other. If it's not making money they are either going to find a way to make money or get rid of it. In my office we generate monthly reports of how many billable services each provider (doctor, etc.) performs. The higher the number, the better the rewards for that provider. If someone is consistently low, they will be let go. Even whole units get shut down because they just don't make enough money.

Our health care system is really backwards, and I admire anyone who is brave enough to step away from the safety net that our society has created in hospitals and doctors. Most of the time, it's unnecessary. Of course, there is a time and a place for doctors and hospitals (like you said in a later post), but most of the time people are just too scared to "risk" going against society and not having the oh so necessary c-section or whatever other services many hospitals try to push on their patients. It's so sad and disgusting that people in respected power positions can say that something is necessary, and we are brought up to not question their opinion and just blindly obey. It is extremely prevalent in child birth but also in other areas of health care.

Thanks for your well-written and educated posts about this sensitive subject. I really don't think anything can or will change until more people begin to be educated on how unnatural and money-centered our health care system is.